"I felt alive again," Williamson told ESPN's Malika Andrews. "My competitive spirit was there, and I'm glad coach and the whole team trusted me to finish the game out."
The Pelicans notched their first win in three tries in the bubble with a 109-99 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. Williamson was on the court for 25 minutes.
That was a departure from the previous two games, with the Pelicans limiting his minutes based on what they termed a "burst restriction." Head coach Alvin Gentry was criticized for the approach, and Williamson was honest Monday in saying he didn't enjoy sitting on the bench in crunch time.
"I ain't gonna lie to you, it's just different in a bad way when I'm on the bench in the fourth quarter, and there's nothing I can do to help my team win," Williamson said, according to ESPN's Andrew Lopez. "So I said I felt alive - it was just great to be out there doing whatever I can to help my team win. And as for the energy part, me and my teammates can just feed off each other."
Williamson finished the game with 23 points and seven rebounds. The Pelicans sit 2 1/2 games behind Memphis for the eighth seed in the West - within the parameters to qualify for a play-in.