McCollum scores 28 points as Pelicans beat Warriors 114-109 to improve playoff position.

San Francisco — Curry and the Warriors know they'll struggle to make the playoffs. If they win the regular-season finale at home against the Lakers, CJ McCollum and the New Orleans Pelicans control their fate. “One job,” McCollum replied. The New Orleans Pelicans overcame Golden State 114-109 on Friday night to improve their playoff position. McCollum scored 28 points, Zion Williamson 26 and McCollum nailed a 3-pointer with 1:03 left.  

New Orleans now needs to win Sunday to capture the Western Conference's sixth seed after Phoenix defeated the Kings 108-107 in Sacramento. McCollum said, “You've got to take care of what you can take care of, prepare for another tough game in a tough environment at the crib and try and get one before the playoffs start.  

After making two free throws with 9 seconds left, Trey Murphy III had 24 points and eight rebounds for New Orleans. Warriors' loss certainly puts them in the 9-10 seeds Play-In Tournament matchup on Wednesday. Stephen Curry scored 33 points and nailed a 3 with 56 seconds remaining but missed from the top of the arc with 13 seconds left.  

Now, coach Steve Kerr will prioritize health and rest players Sunday for a potentially chaotic, taxing week. Kerr stated, “That team, New Orleans, played an amazing game, and they had to the way our guys fought.”  

For 2022 NBA champion Golden State, Klay Thompson scored 19 points and six rebounds, Andrew Wiggins scored 18, and Draymond Green had 12 rebounds and 11 assists in their second loss in 11 games. Curry scored a step-back 3-pointer with 7:12 left to draw the Warriors within 95-92, but Williamson answered. Murphy hit a crucial 3 at 3:45.  

Moses Moody's back-to-back buckets put Golden State up 92-83 with 9:30 left, forcing that the Pelicans call timeout. After Chris Paul's 3 at 8:45 made it six-point, Thompson hit from deep before McCollum turned over.  

After a slow start, the Pelicans utilized a 29-9 run in a 45-point second quarter and made 10 3-pointers to establish a 62-48 halftime advantage, with McCollum scoring 15 points. The Warriors, who had won three straight, were restricted to 22 points in the second quarter and allowed 45 points, their highest this season.  

Kerr addressed all Play-In possibilities before the game because his team needed it. “You get two chances to win one game, you can move up to the seven seed if you win that seven-eight Play-In game,” he stated. “So obviously we want to win every game and be in the best position.”  

Trayce Jackson-Davis scored 10 points and 11 rebounds in his third double-digit game in four games and sixth double-double of his rookie season after hitting three of his first four!  

New Orleans went 2 for 12 and missed its first four 3-pointers, falling down 17-6 before getting hot. “Teams start hitting 3s, it’s contagious,” Jackson-Davis added. A team shooting the lights out makes it impossible to come back.” The Warriors were without Jonathan Kuminga with a bruised tailbone and Gary Payton II with left calf discomfort.  

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