NEW ORLEANS — Zion Williamson even surprised himself when he vaulted upward to snare an overthrown alley-oop lob with his left hand, switched the ball to his right hand and laid it in before tumbling across the baseline.

“It was one of those things where I just tried to make something of it, hope somebody gets the rebound,” Williamson began before turning his answer into a joke at the expense of teammate E’Twaun Moore. “I was shocked it went in. But my biggest shock of the night, I think, is when E’Twaun dunked. He’s definitely getting drug tested.”

Williamson scored 24 points in a little less than 29 minutes, and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Memphis Grizzlies 139-111 on Friday night in the first matchup this season between the NBA’s top two draft picks.

“His activity was really good and he’s still in the learning stages,” said Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry, who was wet from a locker room celebration honoring the coach’s 500th career victory. “He really tries extremely hard not to get in anybody’s way.”

Zion Williamson goes up for a layup during the Pelican's 139-111 win over the Grizzlies on Friday night.
Zion Williamson goes up for a layup during the Pelican’s 139-111 win over the Grizzlies on Friday night.AP

Williamson was playing in just his fifth game since completing a three-month rehabilitation from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He converted four alley-oop lobs into baskets, three of them on dunks. He also drove the baseline for a twisting two-handed dunk and put back several offensive rebounds.

Newly selected All-Star Brandon Ingram scored 20 and Lonzo Ball hit five 3-pointers on seven attempts in his 19-point night for the Pelicans, who won their third straight while ending Memphis’ four-game winning streak.

Jrue Holiday added 18 points for New Orleans, which pulled to four games behind the Grizzlies for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot with 33 games remaining.

Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points for Memphis before fouling out with 8:11 remaining. Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant, taken second overall behind Williamson in last June’s draft, scored 16 points.

“They played great and we weren’t that good,” said Grizzlies coach Tyler Jenkins, whose team was missing forward Jaren Jackson Jr. and guard Marco Guduric because of one-game suspensions for leaving the bench during an altercation against the New York Knicks in Memphis’ previous game.

“We can do a better job guarding one-on-one regardless of who we have out there,” Jenkins said. “Give (the Pelicans) credit. They played with great force.”

Little went wrong for the Pelicans, who shot 53.7%, made 15 3s and led by as many as 32 points in the fourth quarter.