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Pelicans coach Willie Green overcome with emotion on court as season ends (video)

As the Pelicans started the season 1-12, New Orleans coach Willie Green demanded his team compete harder: “That’s a non-negotiable for me.”

The entire organization responded.

Players competed on the court, slowly turning the Pelicans’ record toward respectability. The front office competed in the trade market, landing quality veteran C.J. McCollum. And despite a 36-46 record, the Pelicans competed through the postseason, improbably making the playoffs and even putting up a fight against the mighty Suns.

When there was no competing left to do, Green cried/nearly cried on the court.

The powerful scene after Phoenix’s series-ending Game 6 win last night captured part of what makes Green such a good coach. He cares. His players feel that and feed off that. New Orleans’ season could have easily gone off the rails, especially with Zion Williamson not playing. But Green commanded accountability. The Pelicans non-stop fight in the face of long odds is one of the NBA season’s best stories.

In his post-game press conference, Green discussed everything that prompted his emotional response – pride in what New Orleans accomplished, disappointment the run had ended and, as a former Suns assistant, his connection to Phoenix (especially Monty Williams and Chris Paul):