Pelicans set franchise record with 153 points; beat Jazz
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — CJ McCollum went 9 of 13 from 3-point range and tied his season high with 33 points, Zion Williamson had 17 points and a career-high 11 assists as the New Orleans Pelicans set a franchise record for points with a 153-124 victory over the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night.
The Pelicans’ previous record for points in a game was 149 in a victory over the Sacramento Kings in October 2018. The Pelicans also set a franchise record with 41 assists on 60 made field goals.
“It was just an incredible performance by the guys in that locker room, sharing the basketball, rebounding,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “CJ ignited the whole group. He got us going early. It’s extremely gratifying to see the team buy into what we’re trying to accomplish. It’s great for them to continue to trust that if the shots are open for us, we’re going to take them.”
The Pelicans put the ball in Williamson’s hands as a point forward from the outset, and he responded by willingly distributing the ball. Williamson has played the point sparingly this season at the end of quarters, but not usually at the start of the game when he is teamed with Brandon Ingram.
“It’s just the coaches and my teammates trusting me to be ‘Point Zion’ throughout most of the game to get a feel for the game and where my teammates are going to be,” Williamson said. “The coaches asked, ‘What is your mindset at the beginning of a game?’ and it was to get the lay of the land. The coaches told me I needed to be more aggressive at the start of the game.”
McCollum went 11 of 17 from the floor, and the Pelicans shot 57.1% from the field (60 of 105).
McCollum said he was energized by three days of rest, practice and film study following a disappointing loss to Phoenix last Saturday.
“The NBA should give us three days in between games more often,” he said, laughing.
“The reality of tonight’s game, the reality of the last three games … is we just aren’t playing hard enough,” said Utah coach Will Hardy. “I think tonight was a cumulation of us just not playing hard enough in the moment. They had 65 points in second chance and transition. To give up 35 points in transition on a night when you only have eight turnovers is not very good.”
Utah had a chance to cut the deficit to six points midway through the third quarter, but Jones blocked a layup attempt by John Collins and had a steal on consecutive possessions, leading to easy layups to widen the New Orleans lead to 12. New Orleans outscored Utah 24-8 over the final 6:32 of the quarter.
“That changed the game for us — Herb’s block on Collins,” Green said. “Herb Jones made two incredible plays that changed the momentum of the game.”
The Pelicans used a 43-29 second quarter to build a 77-59 halftime lead, their highest-scoring first half of the season.
With 19 assists in the first half — eight by Williamson — the Pelicans pushed the pace and shot 29 of 49 (59.2%), including 12 of 22 from long range. In a 123-109 loss to the Suns on Saturday night, the Pelicans made just 10 of 42 3-point attempts.
McCollum made all five of his 3-point attempts in his 17-point first half, and Jones was perfect on three long-range attempts from the right corner in his 15-point half.
Sexton kept the Jazz within range with 16 first-half points.
Jazz: Play the third game of a season-long six-game road trip in Washington on Thursday.
Pelicans: Host Oklahoma City on Friday.
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