NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 22: CJ McCollum #3 of the New Orleans Pelicans reacts after scoring a three point basket during the fourth quarter of an NBA game against the San Antonio Spurs at Smoothie King Center on December 22, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)(Sean Gardner)

New Orleans Pelicans vs. San Antonio Spurs Postgame Quotes | 12/22/22

Willie Green on CJ McCollum, win | Pelicans vs. Spurs Postgame Interview 12/22/2022

Pelicans Head Coach Willie Green

On the defensive effort tonight:

“It was pretty good for three plus quarters. They got it going a bit in the fourth quarter. 42 points in the fourth, that’s a little bit much for us. But, overall I thought our defense was solid.”

On CJ McCollum’s performance tonight:

“It was great to see CJ (McCollum) have a night like he did tonight. 40 points and the nine assists are impressive. He rebounded the ball and we needed that type of production from him with the guys being out.”

Willy Hernangomez recaps the win | Pelicans vs. Spurs Postgame Interview 12/22/2022

Pelicans Center Willy Hernangómez

On having a winning record when Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson are out:

“I think we’ve been saying this from training camp, we have 15 guys who are ready to step up when their name is called. It was a tough game for us, but we have a player named CJ McCollum who dominated the game from the beginning. Everybody was ready to play. Everyone had fun. It was a must-win for us at home before Christmas to end the losing streak. We have a big game again tomorrow, so we’re ready for the Oklahoma City Thunder.”

On CJ McCollum catching fire in the 4th quarter:

“I’m really happy for CJ (McCollum). He’s really getting his rhythm back after a couple games out. I’m happy. We need him. Today was a big game for him. Last game was Jonas (Valanciunas), and today without Zion (Williamson), CJ (McCollum) was ready to go. I’m happy to see him making shots and making the right decision. I’m super happy for CJ (McCollum).”

CJ McCollum on-court interview postgame after win vs. Spurs 12/22/2022

Pelicans Guard CJ McCollum

On establishing a rhythm tonight with two of our starters out:

“I just tried to be aggressive. I left some money out there early, missing layups and stuff like that. I had to many turnovers in transition. I have to take better care of the ball. I think all in all, a lot of guys were ready to play. A lot of guys were looking forward to the opportunity to play some extended time. Jaxson (Hayes) being able to play tonight was huge for us. He works extremely hard, and I was happy to see him out there. Naji (Marshall) stepped into a starter role. Jose (Alvarado) was great, Dyson (Daniels) came in, Jonas (Valanciunas) and Trey (Murphy) – everybody was great tonight. I think that’s what it’s going to take for us to be good this season, having multiple guys stepping up at different times and being comfortable in different roles. As we get everyone back, we have to be able to win every type of game.”

On the significance of the bench getting quality minutes tonight:

“It’s very important that our bench and our younger guys get comfortable playing extended minutes and get comfortable playing different roles where they have to play in tightly contested games against playoff competition. Once we’re whole again, we want to hit the ground running. We want guys to be comfortable in different roles. We know that in order for us to make a deep run, it’s not going to be myself, Brandon (Ingram), and Zion (Williamson).

Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich

On Jeremy (Sochan’s) performance on the night:

"Jeremy (Sochan), Stanley (Johnson), and Tre (Jones) are our most physical players. They play with physicality and with grunt. We can't give away a quarter the way we did. We played them pretty even after that first quarter, but we do that too often where we're just following people around. We're not touching them. We're not physical. They do whatever they want and then we just take it. They're more physical with us at the offensive end and so we get on our heels and we're not aggressive offensively. And then we'll get down, figure it out, and then start playing. We're not built. We don't have somebody like a (CJ) McCollum that's going to come in and do what he did to us. We made it a decent game at that point and then he took over. He was great. We don't have that. We can't have those first quarters. That's the whole game. That's the whole part."

Spurs Forward Jeremy Sochan

On improving grit and resilience on the defense:

“We have to be ready to play from the get-go. It is tough when you get down by that much to get back in the game. We have to show resilience from the start.”

On recording a career-high in points and assists tonight:

“I am becoming more comfortable and confident. I play with a lot of energy and once things slow down it is a lot easier. I had career highs tonight but we still lost, so it doesn't really matter.”

Spurs Guard Tre Jones

On his improved performance tonight:

“Just coming out ready to play. Sometimes, like tonight, we come out slow on offense but we can’t let that affect our game. We have to keep our defensive mentality especially when shots are not falling at the start of the game. It is a long game and we know shots will start falling at some point. We have to continue to take care of things on the defensive end. When it starts to go our way on the offensive end then we can go on our runs. We let the defensive end slip away at the start of the game. We were battling back the whole time.”

On the performance of Jeremy Sochan:

“The confidence was there the entire night. He was being aggressive. It is only a matter of time before this becomes the norm for him. He was able to get the rim and was very smart with the basketball making many reads. He is one of those guys that can get a rebound and push the whole length of the floor. He is going to make the best play, whether it's taking it himself or making a read to find the open guy.