Top Home Games of 2013-14: No. 1 vs. MIA
Saturday, March 22, 7 p.m.
Other 2013-14 games between these two teams
Tuesday, Jan. 7, New Orleans at Miami
Why it’s on the list
The Pelicans will host 29 other NBA teams during the 2013-14 regular season. However, New Orleans fans won’t get their one opportunity to see the league’s two-time defending champions until late March, making the Miami Heat the 28th different visitor to the Crescent City this season (Brooklyn, which plays in NOLA two days later, is the 29th).
The star-studded Heat, who’ve reached the NBA Finals three consecutive years, have sold out the New Orleans Arena every season since the “Big Three” of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh joined forces. En route to his second straight MVP award in 2012-13, James put on an offensive clinic at New Orleans, piling up 28 first-half points in a March 29 game. An improved three-point shooter, James also went a season-best 7-for-10 from beyond the arc overall and totaled 36 points.
The weekend visit by the Heat marks the beginning of what could be the most entertaining homestand of 2013-14 for the Pelicans. Brooklyn (the No. 3 game on this list), the Clippers (No. 4) and Utah follow Miami into the Big Easy during the stretch of four New Orleans home games in seven days.
What’s new in Miami
As you’d expect from a team that has captured back-to-back titles, the Heat made minimal roster changes this summer. Miami attempted to improve its frontcourt depth by adding center Greg Oden in free agency, as well as re-signing Chris “Birdman” Andersen, a former New Orleans player. The biggest departure was swingman Mike Miller, who was waived as the team’s amnesty player. He eventually signed with Memphis. Miller delivered clutch three-point shooting in several of the Heat’s postseason wins over the past two championship runs. His perimeter contributions could be replaced by the likes of veteran reserves James Jones and Rashard Lewis.