New Orleans Pelicans vs Miami Heat

 

 

New Orleans will be looking to build on its season-opening victory when it travels to Miami for a Christmas Day matchup. The Pelicans pulled off an upset over Toronto to open the season. Miami fell to Orlando after the Magic had a fourth-quarter surge on Wednesday.

Pelicans coming off season-opening win

New Orleans traveled to Tampa for a meeting with the re-located Raptors to open the season on Wednesday night. The Pelicans outscored Toronto by 16 points in the third quarter and coasted to a 113-99 win. It was the first game for head coach Stan Van Gundy. This should be a particularly special game for the veteran, as he serve as Miami’s head coach from 2004-06. Van Gundy is 21-14 in his career against the Heat. The team enters this season with high hopes in Year 2 of the Zion Williamson era after going 30-42 last season. They had five players score at least 15 points in the win over Toronto.

Williamson had a pedestrian effort in the season-opener, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds for his double-double. He played 30 minutes and made some big plays down the stretch. Williamson was only able to play 27.8 minutes per game last season due to injuries. Brandon Ingram led the team with 24 points on 10 of 19 shooting. Veteran guard JJ Redick had 23 points, including a clutch 4-point play in the fourth quarter. Redick hit 6 of 11 from beyond the arc. Point guards Eric Bledsoe and Lonzo Ball added 18 and 16 points, respectively. Both players made 4 of 8 from the 3-point line.

Turnovers doom Heat in opener

Miami is coming off a very unexpected trip to the NBA Finals, where they put up a fight before eventually losing to the Lakers in Game 6. The Heat finished with a 44-29 record, including a 29-7 mark at home. They averaged 112 points per game, 43.9 of which came in the paint. Miami capitalizes on forcing turnovers and scoring in transition, scoring 11.3 fast break points per game last year. It was a disappointing start to the season on Wednesday, as Orlando notched a 113-107 win. Miami committed 22 turnovers, which was very uncharacteristic of the team last season. The Magic turned those errors into 24 points.

Guard Jimmy Butler and forward Bam Adebayo, who were both instrumental in last year’s playoff run, combined for 13 of the 22 turnovers. Butler scored 19 points, dished out seven assists and had seven steals in the loss. He also did not attempt a shot from the perimeter after shooting just 24.1 percent from beyond the arc last season. Adebayo led the team with 25 points and 11 rebounds, making 11 of 16 from the floor. Shooting guard Tyler Herro didn’t have his best outing, going 6 of 14 for 13 points. Veteran Goran Dragic had 20 points on an 8 of 13 clip off the bench.