The New Orleans Pelicans needed a consistent, reliable scoring guard.
Then, CJ McCollum appeared.
The former Portland Trail Blazers combo guard has been a major addition to the team since arriving in the Big Easy last season, helping them reach the playoffs with a hot stretch to finish the campaign.
Now, he’s once again stepped forward to save the day, making franchise history and uplifting the team past the San Antonio Spurs without Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.
A new season-high for CJ McCollum 👏
He becomes the first Pelicans guard in team history with a 40-point, 5 ast, 5 reb game since Tyreke Evans in 2014. pic.twitter.com/qJSBlOE0Sq
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 23, 2022
McCollum scored a season-high 40 points with nine assists, eight boards, and a couple of blocks to lead his team to a 126-117 win.
“It was great to see C.J. have a night like he did tonight,” Coach Willie Green said. “40 points, the nine assists were impressive, he rebounded the ball. We needed that type of production from him with the guys being out. It’s beautiful to watch when he’s on the floor and he’s scoring like he does. When guys are out, I think the beauty in what we’re able to see is that all of our guys step up, and enjoy these moments, these opportunities. I’ve said it before, some people look at it as obstacles, but our guys relish these moments.”
C.J. has been one of the hottest players in the league as of late, averaging 31.5 points, 7.5 assists, and 6.0 rebounds in his past four games.
The Pelicans continue to impress with a 19-12 record, the third-best in the Western Conference, and that’s with Ingram missing nearly half of the season thus far.
So, don’t sleep on this team; they’re up and coming and will be tough to deal with in the playoffs with McCollum playing this way.