Pelicans.com postgame: Heat 108, Pelicans 95
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
NEW ORLEANS - Due to New Orleans Arena renovations, the Pelicans had played six consecutive games on the road in preseason before finally debuting in front of their home fans Wednesday. Unlike the previous six exhibition contests, New Orleans did not come away with a victory vs. Miami, but for most of the first three quarters, the Pelicans showed why they’d entered the night without a defeat.
Prior to Miami going on a hot-shooting streak in the fourth quarter, New Orleans (6-1) led 82-77 through three periods, with five different Pelicans contributing double-digit scoring. Miami erased its deficit in quick order in the fourth quarter, going on a 24-4 run behind accurate three-point shooting.
New Orleans severely damaged its chances of remaining perfect in preseason by committing 24 turnovers. While the Pelicans were coughing up six of those in the final quarter, the Heat were going 6-for-9 from three-point range. The NBA’s most prolific three-point shooter of all time, Ray Allen was 3-for-3 from long range in the final 12 minutes. Miami outscored New Orleans 31-13.
“We can’t allow that,” said Anthony Davis (18 points, eight rebounds, three blocks, three steals). “We’ve got to lock down defensively and be ready for those types of situations.”
A problem spot throughout preseason – despite a 6-1 record – the Pelicans have been trying to clean up their turnovers since committing 15 in Game 1.
“We can’t expect to win having 24 turnovers, especially against a team like Miami,” Davis said. “We’ve got to limit our turnovers, to around the 10 to 12 mark, to give ourselves a chance to win.”
“That was a major key in the game,” Ryan Anderson said of the turnovers vs. two-time defending champion Miami. “They’ve handled (late-game) situations like this all the time. They’ve been put in championship-quality games. For us, we just can’t turn the ball over like that. We know they can shoot the ball very well. They got a lot of open shots, and they made them."
Anderson’s description of Miami’s fourth quarter also could’ve applied to New Orleans in the initial three quarters. The Pelicans were at 49 percent from the field and 11-for-21 from three-point range entering the final quarter, but went ice-cold from there at 27 percent and 0-for-4.
Eric Gordon finished the game as the Pelicans’ leading scorer with 19 points, his third straight impressive performance since debuting Thursday. Along with Davis’ 18 points, Anthony Morrow (16 points, 3-for-5 on treys), Jrue Holiday (12 points, 6 assists) and Anderson (10 points) each reached double figures in scoring in the first three quarters.