Kawhi Leonard reckons Zion Williamson played great against his Los Angeles Clippers despite the losing effort.

Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

The New Orleans Pelicans have lost both of their opening games in Orlando, falling to the Utah Jazz in the first game of the NBA’s official restart on Thursday and taking another loss to the Clippers on Saturday.

Williamson scored seven points in 14 minutes on Saturday and was a minus-17 on the floor, shooting 3-of-7 from the field and committing three turnovers. Yet, he did just about enough to earn praise from Kawhi Leonard, who scored 24 points along with six rebounds and five assists.

Photo: Associated Press

“I thought he played great,” Leonard said, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “He’s a very high-energy guy. He’s playing to win. I’m not sure if he’s on minute restriction or not. I didn’t really get to see him.”

Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry is being pretty conservative with Zion’s minutes, but may be forced to let his rookie go the distance soon enough, with his team in danger of going home early after losing the first two of their eight seeding games.