Pelicans pound Wizards with big nights from McCollum, Valanciunas

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You know it was a good night when Dereon Seabron logs playing time and Garrett Temple nails a 3-pointer.

That was what we saw in the closing minutes as the New Orleans Pelicans won convincingly by a 132-112 margin Monday night in the nation’s capital over the Washington Wizards.

The Pelicans came out of the gate very slowly with the Wizards taking a 10-0 lead before New Orleans settled in and trailed just 37-35 after one quarter.

Herb Jones went down hard near the six-minute mark of the second quarter and left the game with a lower back contusion and did not return.

The Pelicans closed the first half on a 9-0 run to take a 68-56 lead at the break. CJ McCollum scored 22 points while Jonas Valanciunas had 20 points in the half as they dominated play.

The Wizards shot 57 percent in the half and still trailed by 12 as the Pelicans shot 52 percent and outscored Washington 13-4 at the free throw line.

The big difference was New Orleans scoring 18 points off 10 Washington turnovers while the Wizards scored just four points off just four turnovers by the Pelicans.

New Orleans stared the second poorly as well as the Wizards opened on an 11-2 run to cut the deficit to 70-67.

Once again, the Pelicans responded with a 20-5 run to take a 93-75 lead with 4:13 to play in the third quarter. The Wizards rallied to pull within 100-88 by the end of the quarter as McCollum scored 10 more points in the quarter for New Orleans.

Jose Alvarado took an elbow in the face early in the fourth quarter but he stayed in the game. Alvarado defines toughness.

The Pelicans put the game away with a 15-3 run to open the fourth quarter.

With Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram remaining out, New Orleans once again leaned on its other two stars to provide the necessary punch and got it from CJ McCollum and Jonas Valanciunas, who continue to play outstanding basketball. McCollum scored 34 points with five rebounds in just 31 minutes while Valanciunas scored 27 points with 12 rebounds in just 28 minutes. Naji Marshall contributed 18 points and four assists.

The bench play was outstanding, contributing 42 points, led by Devonte Graham with 11 points and Jose Alvarado with 10 points.

The Pelicans shot 53 percent from the field and outrebounded Washington 44-37. The Pelicans took advantage of 20 Washington turnovers, scoring 39 points off those giveaways.

In the midst of a of a tough stretch of five of six games on the road, the Pelicans (25-16) head to Boston to play an elite Celtics team Wednesday night. Boston beat the Pelicans 117-109 in New Orleans on November 18.

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Ken Trahan

CEO/Owner

Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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