HEAT Complete First Half Of Season With 103-93 Win Over Pelicans

Andre Iguodala, Jimmy Butler
Photo Credit: Layne Murdoch Jr.
by Joe Beguiristain

And just like that, the first half of the season is in the books.

Thanks to Jimmy Butler taking over late, the HEAT defeated the Pelicans 103-93 Thursday night at Smoothie King Center to improve to 18-18 heading into the All-Star Break.

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

1. Jimmy Continues To Be…Jimmy

It’s good to have Jimmy Buckets back.

After setting up his guys supremely well and finishing a ton of plays at the rim through three quarters, Butler simply would not be denied in the fourth.

Seriously, he scored 10 of Miami’s last 16 points and hit tough jumper after tough jumper down the stretch.

Just take a look at this one with 3:25 left:

Told ya they were tough.

On the flip side of the ball, Butler did his usual work and played hard-nosed defense on Brandon Ingram all evening.

When it was all said and done, the 31-year-old had a game-high 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field and 8-of-9 from the line, a game-high nine assists (tied with Ingram), three boards, a game-high three steals and a plus-11 rating.

2. KO Does It All

There are hot starts and then there is the start that Kelly Olynyk had in New Orleans.

I mean, he almost scored as much as the Pelicans did in the first quarter, as he dropped 13 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting in the opening period (New Orleans only scored 15).

And while he drilled another three in the second quarter to give him a game-high 16 points at half, he also picked apart the Pelicans with some great feeds to his teammates from the wings.

Why not watch all his first-half highlights below?

KO didn’t stop there, though.

Sure, he didn’t take as many shots in the second half, but he continued to play solid help defense inside and helped trap along the perimeter as usual.

For an example of the former, here’s a drawn charge on Josh Hart down the stretch:

That’s big time.

Olynyk finished with 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting, including 4-of-5 from deep, a game-high 10 boards, seven assists, one steal and a game-high plus-19 rating.

3. Goran Does His Thing

Before Butler took over, Goran Dragić hit some big relief buckets for Miami late in the third and early in the fourth.

It’s easy for those plays to get overlooked, but you should never take the Dragon for granted.

Dragić ended up with 13 points (seven in the fourth) on 4-of-7 shooting from the field and a perfect 4-of-4 from the charity stripe, three assists and two rebounds.

Other Takeaways:

-Like Butler, Andre Iguodala saved his best for last.

Not only did he somehow get this steal…

…but he also delivered the exclamation point with this one-handed jam:

Gotta love it.

Iguodala concluded with 10 points (nine in the fourth) on 2-of-6 shooting from the field and 5-of-8 from the line, four boards, two assists, that steal above and a plus-five rating.

Game Notes:

-With the win, the HEAT are now 21-20 all-time against the Pelicans, thus holding a winning record against 18 NBA franchises.

-Bam Adebayo (left knee tendinitis) was an active scratch.

-Avery Bradley (right calf strain) and Meyers Leonard (left shoulder surgery) were inactive.

Looking Ahead:

-The HEAT will head home and take some time off for the All-Star Break before getting back to it on Thursday, March 11 against the Magic.

Season ticket members currently have access to a presale, but tickets for that game against Orlando and the rest of Miami’s home games in March will be available to everyone on Saturday, March 6 at noon.

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