Inside Willie Green’s viral ‘You’ve Got to Fight’ speech that sent Pelicans into playoffs

Coach Green said that the moment was about challenging his team to respond in the face of adversity
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 12:54 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 4, 2022 at 4:09 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Last season, with their backs on the wall and a window to the playoffs closing, Pelicans first-year head coach knew that his team had to search for something deep inside themselves.

“Look, we wanted to win that game,” Green said. “During that moment, there was a bit of doubt on my part.”

That night, Brandon Ingram scored 30 points against the Clippers to lead the Pelicans to a 105-101 victory and win the Play-In tournament. They went on to put up a fight against No. 1 Phoenix in the postseason before exiting the first round to a 4-2 count.

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As ascending as the Pelicans were at the time, that playoff birth almost never happened.

The Pelicans had blown a 16-point lead in the first half and never regained it until the final 4.5 minutes in that win over the Clippers.

Going into the fourth quarter, the Pelicans trailed 84-74.

“We could have just ended the game right there, down 10 points with doubt in our mind,” Green said.

At that moment, Green said he knew that going on a run was bigger than trying to win a game. It was about what kind of team they wanted to be.

“It’s something that we talked about all season long and it’s what our group is made of,” Green said. “We want to be able to respond when the opportunity presents itself and it did.”

Green said that after going through these kinds of tests, the goal this season is to take the next steps.

“It wasn’t so much about the speech,” Green said. “I needed to hear it...they needed to hear it. And we needed to understand that we’re capable of doing what we were able to do.”

See the full “You’ve Got to Fight” speech below.

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