Trash talking is an essential part of the NBA. While players in the league mostly hang their hat on their ability to play the game well, the competitive nature of players sometimes causes them to talk trash to each other and get under the skin of their opponents. And it appears Pelicans star CJ McCollum did just that to Austin Rivers.
During the New Orleans Pelicans game against the Denver Nuggets, CJ McCollum easily got past Austin Rivers before taking the ball to the basket. After scoring, McCollum gestured that Rivers was too small to guard him. Frustrated by the outcome of the play and the subsequent trash talk, Rivers walked past CJ while slapping his hand away when he was making the gesture.
McCollum didn't seem angry over Rivers slapping his hand away. If anything, he was probably relishing it as he successfully got under Rivers' skin. The Pelicans have been playing a lot better since CJ arrived on the team. And with Zion Williamson's return to the team rumored to be close, there is cause for optimism among fans of the New Orleans Pelicans.
As for the Denver Nuggets, Nikola Jokic is still one of the best players in the league. And the reigning NBA MVP is having a wonderful year. The Nuggets could also see important players return to the team soon, as both Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. are expected back to the squad before the playoffs. Their returns could be the boost that the Nuggets will need heading into the postseason.
The Pelicans and the Nuggets are looked at as teams that could cause an upset in the playoffs, given the wealth of talent they have. And these two teams could end up playing spoiler in a lot of prediction brackets by the time the season is over.