New Orleans Pelicans guard C.J. McCollum called Wednesday's play-in tournament win against the San Antonio Spurs "the start of something special".
McCollum has been the star of the Pelicans since arriving in a mid-season trade, and it was no different against the Spurs, netting a game-high 32 points to go with seven assists and six rebounds.
The former Lehigh University standout has been averaging 23.3 points and 6.0 assists since the All-Star break and helped propel the Pelicans into the play-in tournament despite starting the season 1-12 from their first 13 games.
Speaking with post-game media, McCollum said it feels like something great is brewing in New Orleans.
"This is the start of something special, for sure," he said.
"You see the energy. Feel the energy. My mother is in town – I have some family in town – when we go out to eat, you can feel the city is excited about basketball, as they should [be].
"There's a lot of talent here. We're playing the game the right way. It's going to be a lot of winning in our future."
McCollum went on to talk about how seriously the Pelicans were taking this game with their season on the line.
"I understood the magnitude of this game," he said.
"The Spurs are always going to go on a run at some point. They are well-coached. They execute. They have a lot of great players who can shoot and score.
"When you get a chance to get up double digits, you have to put the pedal to the metal and try to be aggressive… I try to be more aggressive in the playoffs, try to get downhill a little bit more."
Pelicans head coach Willie Green had nothing but praise for his star shooting guard.
"We just got the ball to him, and he made play after play, score after score," he said.
"The rest of the guys started to feed off C.J. – he's been in these moments, he's played on the big stage.
"It's no coincidence that he goes out and has the game that he has."