HEAT Take Down Pelicans

Improve To 11-2 On Christmas Day
Goran Dragić
Photo Credit: David Alvarez
by Joe Beguiristain
HEAT.com

There’s just something about the HEAT on Christmas Day, eh?

Thanks to an 18-7 run in the fourth and some stout defense, Miami defeated the Pelicans 111-98 Friday afternoon at AmericanAirlines Arena to earn its first win of the season and improve to 11-2 on the holiday.

Let’s get right to it.

1. Goran Cooks…Again

After a strong outing in Orlando, Goran Dragić was at it again versus New Orleans.

From the very moment he checked in for the first time, the Slovenian picked apart the Pelicans’ defense and did whatever he wanted.

In fact, he had eight points and six assists in his first stint of the day, but nothing touches this fantastic behind-the-back dribble and finish late in the fourth, thanks to great defense by Andre Iguodala and Avery Bradley (more on Bradley in just a bit):

Dragić ended up with 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field and 6-of-7 from the stripe, a game-high nine assists, a game-high four steals, two rebounds and a plus-21 rating.

2. Avery Shines In HEAT Debut

Simply put, Bradley made JJ Redick’s life a living hell in between the four lines.

In addition to limiting the sharpshooter to just 1-of-7 shooting, he also fared well against Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Ingram when matched up with them.

And on the offensive side of things, Bradley knocked down a couple of spot-up threes and finished this play in transition down the stretch:

Looks like a HEAT guy to me.

When it was all said and done, Bradley amassed 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including 2-of-5 from deep, four assists, two rebounds, two steals and a game-high plus-23 rating.

3. Duncan Ties Christmas Day Record

The last time Duncan Robinson faced the Pelicans, he hit eight threes.

And while he didn’t quite reach that mark on Friday, he was close.

Due to his usual movement off the ball, Robinson actually drilled six treys in the first half, which was the most in any half on Christmas Day in league history.

Of course, he then tied the record for total threes in a Christmas Day game when he hit his seventh in the third quarter.

Here’s all of them for your viewing pleasure:

Otherwise, the 26-year-old played solid defense on Josh Hart, among others.

In all, Robinson accumulated a team-high 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 7-of-13 from downtown, five boards and a plus-five rating.

Other Takeaways:

-Once again, Precious Achiuwa made some noise on both ends.

Early on, he continued to show great chemistry with Dragić…

…and then he made things as tough as possible on Ingram on switches and Zion Williamson in man later in the contest.

That’s impressive.

The rookie concluded with 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting, three rebounds, two assists, one block and a plus-four rating.

-Nothing really jumped out about Bam Adebayo’s performance, but he was steady throughout and helped lead Miami to victory with Jimmy Butler out for the second half.

Adebayo totaled 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 from the line, four boards, two assists, two steals, one block and a plus-nine rating.

-The HEAT recorded 29 assists on 38 made field goals and shot 16-of-37 from deep as a result.

Game Notes:

-Butler did not play in the second half due to right ankle stiffness and finished the day with four points, six boards, five assists and one steal.

-Max Strus and Gabe Vincent (right knee procedure) were inactive.

Looking Ahead:

-The HEAT will practice for a few days before hosting the Bucks on successive nights on Dec. 29 and 30. Depending on your location, you can catch the Dec. 29 matchup on either FOX Sports Sun or TNT and the Dec. 30 showdown on either FOX Sports Sun or NBA TV.

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