New Orleans - CJ McCollum is now available anywhere in New Orleans. He said he felt there was a lot of talk about the Pelicans in the capital.
on Wednesday, In order to advance to the NBA play-in, the Pelicans defeated the San Antonio Spurs 113-103 in front of a crowd of sales at the Smoothie King Center.
"It's the beginning of something special, for sure," McCollum said. "You see the energy. You feel the energy. My mother is in town. I have a family in town. When you go out to eat, you feel excited about playing basketball in the city. Here are the talents. We are playing the game the right way.
McCollum got off to a good start against Tottenham Hotspur, scoring 19 points in the second half, including 27 in the first half.
Pelicans coach Willie Green says McCollum has been a force to be reckoned with all night.
"We gave him the ball and he played after the game and scored," said Green. "The rest of the guys started eating CJ. He's just here. He's playing on stage. It's a coincidence that he's out and playing games."
McCollum finished the game with a high 32 points.
"I understand the scale of the game," McCollum said. "The Spaniards will be running at some point. They are good coaches. Good performance. They have a lot of good players who can score goals. You have the opportunity to climb two numbers. Put your shoes on the metal and try hard. "
McCollum understands how and when to engage others.
Brandon Ingram has missed 13 of his last 18 games with a right ear injury. So the Pelicans got the ball early on Ingram, scoring 11 of his 27 points in the first quarter.
Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas scored five points early in the game and New Orleans sent him 12 of his 22 in the third quarter.
"I just keep talking to them when I need to and I understand what we are trying to do," McCollum said when asked how to play calmly in the game. "We need to get the ball out and slow down the game. Take the ball to the JV. Do not drop the ball three times to get to the midfield. Fight aggressively against the basket. I got the bonus early. I chose my position.
The Pelicans will play the LA Clippers on Friday night for the eighth seed to qualify for the playoffs and acquire the top seed, the Phoenix Suns.
If only the Pelicans improved. They will become the fourth team in NBA history for the first time since the start of 1-12, or worse, after the Suns' performance in 1996-97.
"It's fun, it's exciting. I'm never thought I've been to this crowded Smoothie King," Ingram said. "It shows how far we have come from 1-12. It is a blessing to be in the playoffs. We just have to keep going and keep our focus, but I like the energy at the Smoothie King Center."
Although McCollum experienced the same level of noise as the Pelican for the first time, He remembers the stadium as loud as ever, especially when the Pelicans wiped out his Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the 2018 playoffs.
"I hope Wednesday night's effort indicates what the team can do next.
"I'm happy and excited," McCollum said. "Obviously we have to try to focus on the economy in LA, but when we get back here we hope to see more sales and we will reward them with a higher level of play and a higher level of energy. We will all leave it in court."