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Game Preview: Pelicans at Heat

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Upon learning Ryan Anderson will be out for an extended period of time, the Pelicans must find the necessary focus in tonight's match-up against the Heat. Although the World Champions sit only 2 games out of first in the Eastern Conference, they haven't been mauling the opposition like many would expect.

Excluding the blowout of the Magic this past Saturday, the Heat have outscored their opponents the last seven games by a total of 3 points. A lot of close wins and a couple of losses to the Kings and Warriors results in the meager margin.

The Champs still have LeBron James, so they'll still continue to win plenty of games -- especially the close ones where having the best player on the planet really matters. Dwyane Wade has missed 8 of their 34 games, in order to preserve him for their typical playoff run. Chris Bosh is still more than adequately filling his role of drawing out opposing centers out from underneath the basket and the Heat possess the usual perimeter spacers including Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers and Rashard Lewis. They have also gotten some really nice minutes out of Chris Andersen and Michael Beasley too.

If the Pelicans avoid a letdown, whether it's the Anderson news or the fact it took them days to get to Miami from Indianapolis, expect a competitive game. In fact, if Miami goes small and plays James, Beasley or Lewis at PF, it could play right into our hands. Monty Williams would be able to field probably our best unit for the majority of the game: Holiday-Gordon-Evans-Aminu-Davis.

Only have to hope Monty can overcome his dislike for going small. And getting players not named Anderson to hoist enough three point attempts. Fingers crossed.