CJ McCollum predicts bright future for Pelicans after lighting up Spurs
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New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum has predicted big things for the Pelicans after the team defeated the San Antonio Spurs in the play-in tournament. On Wednesday night at Smoothie King Center, the Pelicans defeated the Spurs 113-103 to set up a game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The winner of the Pelicans and Clippers game will enter the Western Conference playoffs as the eighth seed. "This is the start of something special, for sure," McCollum said, per ESPN. "You see the energy. Feel the energy. My mother is in town; I have some family in town.
When we go out to eat, you can feel the city is excited about basketball, as they should [be]. There's a lot of talent here. We're playing the game the right way. It's going to be a lot of winning in our future." McCollum delivered a big performance for the Pelicans, dropping a game-high 32 points.
"We just got the ball to him, and he made play after play, score after score," Pelicans head coach Willie Green said. "The rest of the guys started to feed off CJ. He's been in these moments. He's played on the big stage. It's no coincidence that he goes out and has the game that he has."
McCollum stepped up for the Pelicans
McCollum, who was traded from the Portland Trail Blazers to the Pelicans prior to the trade deadline, has a ton of playoff experience under his belt and he knew he needed to show up on Wednesday night.
"I understood the magnitude of this game," McCollum said. "The Spurs are always going to go on a run at some point. They are well-coached. They execute. They have a lot of great players who can shoot and score. When you get a chance to get up double digits, you have to put the pedal to the metal and try and be aggressive." McCollum did more than just scoring as he was also giving tips and advice to teammates throughout the game.
"Just continuing to talk to them when I need to. Understanding what we're trying to execute," McCollum said when asked how he was a calming factor in the game. "We need to get the ball out and slow the game down. Get the ball to JV.
Telling BI get to the middy and don't settle for 3. Be aggressive and attack the basket. We got in the bonus early. And then picking my spots. I try to be more aggressive in the playoffs, try to get downhill a little bit more."