CJ McCollum and the Pelicans defeat Dejounte Murray and the Spurs in the 2022 NBA Play-In Tournament | Launderer’s report

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

CJ McCollum’s 27 first-half points helped keep the New Orleans Pelicans’ playoff hopes alive en route to a 113-103 win over the visiting San Antonio Spurs at the Smoothie King Center in the tournament. Western Conference playoff on Wednesday.

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WHAT A HALF FOR CJ MCCOLLUM ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

-27 PTS
-10/12FG

The Pelicans lead 61-50 at the break. pic.twitter.com/CiHTzZdhGl

McCollum, who was down 32 total points on 12-of-23 shooting, scored 19 points in the second quarter to give the Pels a 61-50 halftime lead.

New Orleans led by six or more for the remainder of the game, thanks to excellent shooting (54.3 percent from the field) and a dominating effort off the glass (53-34 up).

Jonas Valanciunas completed McCollum with a night of 22 points and 14 rebounds. Brandon Ingram, who has missed the last three games, added 27 points in his return from a right hamstring injury.

It was a night out for Spurs, who were trying to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2018-19. Devin Vassell led San Antonio with 23 points. Dejounte Murray had 16 points on 5 of 19 shooting.

The Spurs have now missed the playoffs for three straight years after playing them 22 consecutive seasons under head coach Gregg Popovich.

As for the Pels, they are trying to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2017-18.

They are set to do so despite the absence of All-Star forward Zion Williamson, who has been out all season with a broken fifth metatarsal in his right foot.

Notable performances

Pelicans G CJ McCollum: 32 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds

Pelicans F Brandon Ingram: 27 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists

Pelicans C Jonas Valanciunas: 22 points, 14 rebounds, 2 blocks

Spurs W Devin Vassell: 23 points, 3 assists

Spurs PG Dejounte Murray: 16 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists

Spurs C Jakob Poeltl: 16 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals

CJ McCollum kicks Pels out of the playoffs

McCollum’s performance in the second quarter was key to the Pels victory. He was nearly unstoppable en route to a 19-point effort.

Of note, he hit that two from long range for a 30-25 lead.

ESPN @ESPN

“This guy’s bag has a bag.” ๐ŸŽ’

CJ is smooooooth. pic.twitter.com/FptLCqZv7L

McCollum was feeling it all over the court, hitting a big three to start a 14-4 streak that ended the first half and gave New Orleans an 11-point lead before halftime.

The former Lehigh star scored 10 of those 14 points, with the other four thanks to Jose Alvarado, who hit those three:

New Orleans Pelicans @PelicansNBA

.@AlvaradoJose15 3/3 3PM ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ

HE CAN SHOOT

๐Ÿ“บ: @ESPNBA
๐Ÿ“ป: @ESPNRadioNOLA pic.twitter.com/KFhwURnkJY

The Pels’ three-point barrage put Spurs in a hole, and that one gave New Orleans their first double-digit lead of the game:

Overall, McCollum was 10 of 12 from the field after two quarters. He was particularly good at dribbling.

Without the Spurs bench, this one could have been exceeded at half:

He calmed down a bit in the second half but got to work anyway, nailing that three for the Pels’ 92-74 lead.

The Spurs cut the Pels’ lead to six in the fourth quarter due to New Orleans’ offensive drought, but McCollum’s first-half effort gave the Pels more than enough cushion to advance.

Spurs’ second-half surge falls just wide

San Antonio trailed 21 points early in the fourth quarter after a jump from Naji Marshall. A Pelicans win seemed like a foregone conclusion at the time, but San Antonio had other ideas.

Spurs went on a 16-1 run to cut the Pels’ lead to 97-91 with 5:18 remaining. The Pels went over six minutes of playing time without scoring a goal on the field, and their only point came courtesy of a Valanciunas free throw.

All of Spurs played a part in the rally, with Jakob Poeltl notably excelling on both sides. He took a feed from Murray and crossed the lane for a layup to cut the deficit to 96-79.

Josh Richardson’s three cut Spurs’ deficit to single digits:

San Antonio managed to reduce their lead, in part thanks to excellent defense. Poeltl had two interceptions and that huge block on Valanciunas to keep the Pels advantage at nine.

San Antonio cut the Pels’ lead to six after a Vassell three, but the Pels’ offense finally broke through in the end. Ingram went 6-0 with a pair of buckets, and he added four more points in the final two minutes to help keep San Antonio at arm’s length.

Kudos to San Antonio for fighting it out, but New Orleans will move on.

And after?

New Orleans will now visit the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday at 10 p.m. ET at Crypto.com Arena. The winner of this contest will advance to a first-round series against the top-seeded Phoenix Suns beginning Sunday at 9 p.m. at the Footprint Center.

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