CJ McCollum carries Pelicans into tilt vs. Pistons

The New Orleans Pelicans go from one extreme to the other in their current five-game road trip.The Boston Celtics notched their NBA-best 30th victory with a 125-114 win over the Pelicans on Wednesday. New Orleans now visits Detroit on Friday — the Pistons lead the league in losses with 33.The Pelicans have the Western Conference’s third-best record but have lost five of their last seven games. They’re trying to survive without two of their top players, as Zion Williamson (hamstring) and Brandon Ingram (toe contusion) remain out indefinitely.New Orleans stuck close most of the way in Boston behind CJ McCollum, who poured in 38 points.”He’s kind of carrying us right now with guys being out,” coach Willie Green said. “We need him to score a bit more, and he’s doing it. He’s more than capable. I just wish we could have finished the game a little bit better. CJ has it going.”That’s reflected in the monthly statistics. McCollum has appeared in five games this month, averaging 30.8 points and 4.6 assists.”All in all, I think I liked the effort we put forth,” McCollum said. “Just trying to be aggressive. Trying to get to spots. Do what I work on. And try to be as efficient as possible each night. Especially understanding we are a little short-handed.”The Pistons have been dealing with a number of frontcourt injuries this week, which could help Jonas Valanciunas bounce back from an off night in Boston. After posting 27 points and 12 rebounds in 28 minutes during a victory over Washington on Monday, Valanciunas was limited to 13 points and four rebounds in 23 minutes against the Celtics.New Orleans collected a 104-98 home win over the Pistons last month as Williamson racked up 29 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.