Things got tense between the Pelicans and Suns after Friday's game. Dec 9, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Pelican head coach Willie Green gets into a disagreement with Phoenix Suns assistant head coach Kevin Young after the game at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Phoenix Suns on Friday night, winning 128-117. In the game’s final moments, things got tense between the two teams.

With roughly seven seconds left in the game, Phoenix’s Chris Paul missed a rebound. New Orleans’ Larry Nance Jr. came down with the rebound and passed the ball down the floor to a wide open Zion Williamson. Rather than dribble the clock out, Williamson did a reverse 360 dunk, punctuating the win for the Pelicans.

The Suns did not take too kindly to what happened.

To say that Williamson and the Pelicans got no criticism would be in accurate. There were some fans who felt the dunk was in poor taste.

The supporters, though, far outweighed the critics.

This was the second of four regular season meetings between the two Western Conference opponents. In an odd scheduling quirk, the third meeting will be on Sunday, December 11, with the two teams again squaring off in New Orleans. They’ll be in Phoenix on Saturday, December 17 in what will be the final regular season meeting between the two teams.

With the regular season ending so soon, it’s only natural to look forward to a potential playoff series.

As far as who’s to blame here, there’s of course some subjectivity involved. It is important to note, though, that sports are a form of entertaininment. Williamson doing a wide open dunk like that is entertaining, especially to his home fans.

It’s no different than bat flips in baseball or running up the score allegations in football. The Pelicans violated no rules here. They also didn’t put anyone’s health at risk. The Suns really don’t have much of a leg to stand on. If they get a chance to do something similar in a later game, the same guidelines will apply. If they don’t violate any rules — written rules — and don’t put anyone’s healthy at risk, it’s fair game.


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