After fighting for two days just to make it to Miami, the Pelicans initially found their hosts to be quite accommodating. As usual, New Orleans came out quickly out of the gate hitting their mid range jump shots and attacking the offensive glass. The best part was the ball movement, as Aminu had a pair of incredible assists where the ball was barely in his hands. The Heat were their usual blitzing self against the PnR, but the Pelicans handled it well. Anthony Davis slipped the screen early, made himself available for the pass and quickly moved the ball as Miami rotated.
The second quarter saw Davis start for the first time in recent memory -- the lack of Ryan Anderson is a huge factor for the increased load. For the game, Davis played 41 minutes and did not play the final minutes thanks to the margin. Anthony Morrow, for his worried family members, has been found and actually played for the Pels tonight. Greg Stiemsma continues to confound Twitterverse as he chooses to observe rebounds rather than either attack the ball (low chance due to his athletic limitations) or find someone to box out (preferred thanks to his bulk).
With the score 49-40, the Pelicans had the ball in Tyreke's hands. As he hoisted a made three, the whistle rang out as he was called for palming prior to the shot. With just 1.1 seconds the Heat inbounded to Chris Bosh, who Anthony Morrow fouled while attempting a three point shot. Six point swing going into the locker room.
Despite the rough end to the first half, the Pelicans charged out in the third quarter, scoring five quick points. The Heat battled back and by the five minute mark were within two as Coach Spolestra called a timeout. Quickly the Heat went on seven point run and you could feel the momentum swinging like a wrecking ball. I noted, that right at the 3:00 mark, the camera showed Monty immediately following a Jrue Holiday turnover, a combination of smirk and just "what can you do" smile. The game, at that moment within five points, was slipping away and that look just felt like he was on the couch with all of us. Powerless. Both teams went back and forth and a Brian Roberts floater from the left wing kept the Heat lead at only five going into the fourth. However, the Pelicans lost the third quarter by 11 points -- continuing a theme we've seen from New Orleans against quality opponents.
**Side Note. Once LeBron James starts hitting jump shots with a hand in his face, I don't think any NBA coach or team is equipped to deal with it. You can't guard him. You can't crowd him. The gap between James and everyone else in the NBA is enormous.
The fourth quarter started out horrendously and it predictably snowballed from that point. New Orleans committed three turnovers in their first six possessions and a five point lead ballooned to 13. Miami packed the paint and the Pelicans settled for jump shots on possessions they were not just giving the ball back to the Heat. New Orleans scored four points in the paint during the fourth quarter. Miami scored 14 as Chris Andersen went 5-5 in paint for the quarter.
Game Notes -
- Anthony Davis was amazing in the first half and mostly invisible in the second. He had 16 points and 10 rebounds at the half, yet finished with 22 and 12. The Heat were better on their rotations, but New Orleans stopped moving the ball, which is what opens up opportunities for Davis.
- Jrue Holiday had another rough game. He looks like he's trying to select the right answer again, similar to his struggles at the beginning of the season. Ryan Anderson missing cramps the floor and Jrue (along with Tyreke) are effected greatly by his absence.
- Greg Stiemsma and Alexis Ajinca combined for 4 points and 7 rebounds in over 28 minutes. That's not going to cut it.
- Jason Smith was rusty from his spots but still decisive. He still needs to consider the extra pass more often.
- New Orleans has attempted 24 threes in the last three games combined. Putting that number in perspective, seven teams average at least 24 three point attempts PER GAME. The Heat tonight alone attempted 27 three pointers. Three more than the Pelicans have since Friday. Anti-analytics strike again. SIGH.