Williamson, 19, had 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals in his preseason debut. The Pelicans beat the Hawks 133-109 Monday at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
The former Duke Blue Devils freshman phenom hit the runway at the 10:15 mark in the first quarter. New Orleans trailed 7-3 when Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday spotted Williamson trailing behind him at the top of the 3-point arc. Holiday flipped the ball back to Williamson, who then dribbled into the paint.
The 6-foot-7, 285-pound forward pulled the ball back in his right hand and smashed it through the net, despite being met at the rim by 7-foot defender Damian Jones.
“I just saw the lane open up … This isn’t high school or college anymore. You have to go out strong,” Williamson said. “I went up strong and I was able to finish.”
Williamson returned to the rim for another nasty dunk the second quarter, receiving a pass in the paint from point guard Lonzo Ball. Hawks defenders stepped out of the way, allowing Williamson to go up strong with both hands for another ferocious finish.
Holiday scored a game-high 21 points for New Orleans. Brandon Ingram recorded 19 points and six rebounds in the win. DeAndre Bembry paced the Hawks with 16 points, while Trae Young had nine points and 11 assists in the loss.
“It was a lot of fun,” Williamson said. “First NBA game, doesn’t count against the record. But It was the first one of hopefully many. I’m glad I could get that one under my belt.”
The Pelicans battle the Chicago Bulls in another preseason game at 8 p.m. EDT Wednesday at the United Center in Chicago.