Pelicans down Warriors, close in on sealing 6th in West

CJ McCollum capped a New Orleans barrage of 3-pointers by sinking his eighth of the game with 1:02 remaining in San Francisco, stalling a Golden State Warriors rally and propelling the Pelicans into a 114-109 triumph in a Friday matchup filled with playoff-position ramifications.

A second win in two nights in Northern California improved the chances of the Pelicans (49-32) finishing in the coveted sixth spot in the Western Conference and clinching a playoff spot.

Meanwhile, the Warriors (45-36) took a giant step backward toward the 10th and final play-in spot, a position that requires two road wins in order to make the playoff field.

The Pelicans used a 45-point, second-quarter explosion to extend into as much as a 16-point lead, and they held a 109-97 advantage with 3:15 remaining after Trey Murphy III and Herbert Jones buried consecutive 3-pointers.

Stephen Curry nearly rallied Golden State all the way back, sandwiching two layups around a 3-pointer to close the gap to six, then nailing a 3-pointer to make it a 112-109 game with 56.8 seconds remaining.

Curry had a chance to draw the Warriors even after a Zion Williamson miss, but he couldn’t connect on a running 3-pointer from straight away with 13.5 seconds to go.

Murphy then capped a 24-point night by making two free throws with nine seconds left to ice New Orleans’ fourth straight win.

The Warriors led by as many as 11 in the first quarter, then again at 28-17 when Chris Paul hit a short jumper on Golden State’s first possession of the second period.

But the rest of the half was all New Orleans, which got five 3-pointers from McCollum, three from Murphy and one apiece from two other players as part of its game-flipping second quarter that opened a 62-48 halftime advantage.

The Pelicans never trailed again, sending the Warriors to their 20th home loss in 40 dates this season.

McCollum paced the Pelicans with 28 points, 24 coming on 8-for-13 shooting from 3-point range. New Orleans made 20 threes as a team, outscoring the Warriors 60-39 from beyond the arc.

Murphy, who made six threes, complemented his 24 points with a team-high-tying eight rebounds, while Williamson added 26 points. Dyson Daniels matched Murphy’s eight rebounds and also led the visitors in assists with seven.

Curry shot 7-for-13 from long range as part of his game-high, 33-point night. Klay Thompson chipped in with 19 points, Andrew Wiggins 18 and Trayce Jackson-Davis 10 to go with 11 rebounds. Golden State’s Draymond Green recorded a 12-rebound, 11-assist double-double on a night when he went scoreless.