CJ McCollum leads Pelicans past Spurs, into showdown with Clippers
New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum (3) reacts with the crowd after scoring a 3-point basket in the first half of an NBA play-in basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs in New Orleans, Wednesday, April 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

CJ McCollum scored a game-high 32 points to lead New Orleans past San Antonio 113-103 Wednesday night in the West play-in of 9 vs 10 seeds.

With the win, the Pelicans advance to play the Clippers on Friday night in Los Angeles.  The winner of that game officially advances to the playoffs as the 8-seed in the West, and will face the top-seed Phoenix Suns in the first round.

Additionally, should New Orleans win Friday, they will keep their first round pick in this year’s NBA Draft.  Should they lose, their first-round pick becomes property of the Portland Trail Blazers, giving Portland two first-round picks in the draft.

The draft lottery is May 17th.  The NBA Draft is June 23rd.

If the Blazers do not receive the Pelicans first-round pick this year, Portland will not see any part of the return from the McCollum trade earlier this season until 2025, when they inherit the first-round pick of the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Pelicans and Clippers tip off Friday at 7 p.m. on TNT.  Los Angeles is a 4-point betting favorite.

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