New Orleans – Wherever CJ McCullum Now I go to New Orleans and feel the buzz in the city about pelicans, he says.
The Pelicans advanced to the NBA’s play-off match against the San Antonio Spurs 113-103, ahead of a sell – out meeting at the Smoothie King’s Center on Wednesday.
“It’s the beginning of something special, of course,” McCallum said. “You see the energy. Feel the energy. My mother is in town; I have some families in town. When we go out to eat, you can feel the excitement of basketball in the city. [be]. Talents abound here. We play the game the right way. That fact must be taken into account. “
McCullum started fast against the Spurs, scoring 27 points in the first half and 19 points in the second quarter when he was right for 7-for-7.
Pelicans coach Willie Green said McCullum was a constant and quiet force for the team throughout the night.
“We got him the ball, he played after the game, he scored after the score,” Green said. “The rest of the guys started feeding CJ. He was in these moments. He played on the big stage. It’s not a coincidence that he went out and had the game in him.”
McCullum finished the game with 32 points.
“I understand the scale of this game,” McCallum said. “Spurs are always going to accumulate runs at some point. They are well trained. They perform well. They have a lot of great players, they can shoot and score. When you get a chance to get double digits, you put the pedal on the metal and try aggressively. “
McCullum also understood how and when to involve others.
Brandon Ingram He missed the previous three games and 13 of the last 18 games due to a right femur problem. So the Pelicans got the Ingram ball early, and he scored 11 of 27 points in the first quarter.
Pelican Center Jonas Valanciunas He had five points at the break and was given the ball by New Orleans in the third quarter when he went 12 for 22.
“I keep talking to them when I need to. Understanding what we’re trying to implement,” McCullum said when asked how quiet he was in the game. “We need to get the ball out and slow down the game. Take the ball to JV and pick my places. I’m trying to be very aggressive in the playoffs, trying to get down a little more.”
The Pelicans will play in the LA Clippers on Friday night, advancing to the playoffs as eighth seed and facing first-ranked Phoenix Suns.
If the Pelicans progress, they will become the fourth team in NBA history to make the playoffs after playing 1-12 or worse, and the Suns being the first team to achieve this feat in 1996-97.
“It’s fun. It’s exciting. I’m never been to a place where there were so many people at Smoothie King,” Ingram said. “It shows how far we have come in starting at 1-12. It’s a blessing to have had the opportunity to play in the playoffs. We have to keep going and focus. But I loved the energy at the Smoothie King Center.”
Although this is McCullum’s first time experiencing noise levels as a pelican, he remembers the stadium sounding so loud in the past – especially when the pelicans wiped out his Portland Trail blazers in the first round of the 2018 playoffs.
He expressed confidence that Wednesday night’s effort will indicate what the team can do to move forward.
“I’m happy with that. I’m excited,” McCallum said. “Obviously, we should try to take care of business in LA, but I’m looking forward to seeing more sales when we get back here. And we’ll reward them with more games, more energy. We’ll leave it all on the court.”
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