NEW ORLEANS – C.J. McCollum scored 14 of his 30 points in the third quarter and the New Orleans Pelicans overcame Ja Morant’s 36-point effort to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 113-102 on Tuesday night.
McCollum had averaged just 9.5 points on 27% shooting in his previous four games, but he was 7 of 13 from long range to help make up for Zion Williamson’s scoring absence with the star forward out with a bruised right foot.
“I’ve been playing like crap lately and feeling like crap and shooting the ball really poorly, which is uncharacteristic,” McCollum said. “You’re going to make shots; you’re going to miss shots. My track record speaks for itself in how I work and how I perform. You just keep swimming.”
Pelicans coach Willie Green said his teammates playfully mauled McCollum in the locker room for fighting through his shooting woes.
“We all joked around in the locker room and said, ‘Welcome back,’” Green said. “That’s the C.J. we’re accustomed to seeing. He’s been under the weather for a few days now. We knew that he would get his legs back under him.”
The Pelicans led 89-87 after three quarters and opened the fourth with a 15-4 run, led by five points from reserve guard Jose Alvarado, to take a 104-91 lead. The Pelicans also got 19 points each from Brandon Ingram and Larry Nance Jr., and they held Memphis to 15 fourth-quarter points.
McCollum hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter, and his seven overall helped the Pelicans finish with a season high 18 3-pointers on 38 attempts.
“You’ve got to tip your cap,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. “Obviously, they’ve got some lethal scorers in McCollum, Ingram and their teammates did a good job tonight.”
Morant had a 24-point first half to power Memphis to a 60-59 lead. Morant did his damage driving into the paint and also from the outside, going 8 of 12 from the floor, including 2 of 3 from long range. He also made 6 of 8 from the foul line and had three first-half steals.
Dillon Brooks added 19 for Memphis.
But Morant wasn’t happy with his team’s 42-point second half.
“We’ve just got to be able to finish in the paint and knock down open looks,” he said. “That’s pretty much what we’ve been doing all season, which made us a good team offensively.”
Grizzlies: F/C Jaren Jackson made his season debut after missing the first 14 games after right foot surgery. He looked rusty on 3-of-14 shooting. … G/F Desmond Bane, averaging 24.7 points a game, was out with a sore right toe. … Morant returned after missing Sunday’s loss at Washington with left ankle soreness.
Pelicans: Williamson missed the game with a right foot contusion and is day-to-day to return, said coach Willie Green. Williams, who is averaging 23.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists a game, hurt his foot Saturday early in the fourth quarter of a 119-106 victory over Houston. Green said there was “definitely some hope” he could play Wednesday night when the Pelicans host the Bulls.
Grizzlies: Host Oklahoma City on Friday night.
Pelicans: Host Chicago on Wednesday night.
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