McCollum stars, Pelicans top Spurs in NBA

CJ McCollum scored a season-high 40 points as the New Orleans Pelicans beat the San Antonio Spurs 126-117 to end their four-game NBA losing streak.

Jonas Valanciunas had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Pelicans, who won despite Zion Williamson being scratched from the lineup because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

The Pelicans – who also were missing forwards Brandon Ingram and Larry Nance Jr – made 13 three-pointers.

McCollum hit seven from deep, and his first gave New Orleans the lead for good at 3-2 in the opening minutes.

“We needed that type of production from him with the guys being out,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said.

“It’s beautiful to watch when he’s on the floor and he’s scoring like he does.”

The Pelicans led by as many as 23 points and opened the fourth quarter with a 19-point lead.

The Spurs got back in the game with a 10-0 run fuelled by Stanley Johnson, who scored nine of his 12 points in the final period.

McCollum, however, almost single-handedly kept the Spurs at bay.

His floater off the glass was the first of 19 points he scored in a pivotal seven-minute stretch.

The individual outburst included four 3s – one while McCollum was fouled for a 4-point play.

Malik Beasley scored 25 points and Jordan Clarkson added 23 to power the Utah Jazz past the reeling Washington Wizards 120-112.

Lauri Markkanen had 21 points and Collin Sexton returned from missing seven games with a right hamstring injury to finish with 18 while playing just 17 minutes due to a medical minutes restriction.

Bradley Beal scored 30 points and Kyle Kuzma had 21, but the Wizards lost for the 14th time in their past 16 games.

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