NEW ORLEANS (AP) — CJ McCollum scored a season-high 40 points and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the San Antonio Spurs 126-117 on Thursday night to end their four-game 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 made 13 3-pointers. McCollum hit seven from deep, and his first gave New Orleans the lead for good at 3-2 in the opening minutes.
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 fueled 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 his 19 points in a pivotal seven-minute stretch. The individual scoring outburst included four 3s — one while McCollum was fouled for a 4-point play.
The last of McCollum’s 3s made it 119-106 with 3:31 to go. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich subbed out his entire lineup moments later, and the Pelicans remained comfortably ahead after that.
Jeremy Sochan scored a career-high 23 points for San Antonio. Tre Jones added 19 points and Josh Richardson had 14.
The Pelicans missed their first nine shots from close range but hit four of their six 3-point attempts — with McCollum making three — to take a 12-2 lead.
By the end of the first quarter, the Pelicans had made six 3s, the last of those by Devonte’ Graham putting New Orleans up 37-17.
The Pelicans led 65-46 at halftime.
Spurs: Leading scorer Keldon Johnson missed his second straight game with right hamstring tightness. … Jakob Poeltl scored 13 points and Devin Vassell scored 10. … Missed 19 of 28 3-point shots.
Pelicans: Trey Murphy III scored 15 points, while reserve center Willy Hernangomez scored 13. … Jose Alvarado had nine points and three steals. … Hit 25 of 27 free throws (92.6%). … Forward Brandon Ingram missed his 12th straight game with his left large toe injury and reserve power forward Larry Nance missed his second straight game with a sore right Achilles tendon. Williamson also is expected to miss at least one more game.
Spurs: At Orlando on Friday night.
Pelicans: At Oklahoma City on Friday night.