Panzura postgame wrap: Heat 103, Pelicans 93
Playing without Zion Williamson for only the second time this season, New Orleans had a vastly different look Thursday, relying more heavily on multi-guard lineups and their other three first-round picks from the last two NBA drafts. Although some of the Pelicans’ young players delivered solid games and highlights along the way, it wasn’t enough to overcome a Heat team that has been playing very well lately. Miami posted its seventh win in eight games, handing New Orleans a second straight home defeat as both squads wrapped up the first half of 2020-21.
In addition to Williamson being sidelined, Pelicans reserve JJ Redick was out due to injury. Miami starting center Bam Adebayo was a DNP, but Heat top player Jimmy Butler picked up the slack with some crunch-time heroics.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Butler converted a three-point play and a three-point shot, giving Miami six quick points and pushing the visitors’ lead to 98-87 with two-plus minutes left. New Orleans made things interesting by cutting a deficit to just five, before “Jimmy Buckets” drained a couple of the night’s most pivotal hoops.
PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Kira Lewis Jr. made one of the biggest contributions of his rookie NBA season, giving New Orleans a spark and some energy on the offensive end. The Alabama product used his speed to get to the basket both in transition and in some halfcourt situations. Lewis paired with Nickeil Alexander-Walker in the fourth quarter to boost New Orleans to a rally. Miami had gone up by as many as 17 points earlier in the evening.
BY THE NUMBERS
11/43: New Orleans three-point shooting. That was tied for the second-most attempts from behind the line in a game this season, but the first loss for the Pelicans when they shot 42 or more.
15: Pelicans offensive rebounds, tied for their sixth-most of the season.
6: New Orleans fast-break points, a minimal number that factored into the hosts behind held under 100 points for the first time since a 95-point output at the Lakers on Jan. 15.
Revisiting three keys to victory
KEEP GETTING BUCKETS
Without Williamson, this was perhaps a bigger challenge than most could’ve anticipated. New Orleans had recently been ranked No. 1 in offense since Feb. 1, but Thursday’s performance could easily move it out of the top spot during that multi-week timeframe.
GET TO DUNCAN ROBINSON
One of Miami’s breakout players from last summer’s bubble, the spot-up sharpshooter made minimal impact with only five points and four shots.
The final tally of 13 wasn’t bad, but New Orleans committed 10 of those in the first half and had a couple sloppy miscues at the very outset of the game. Miami led 55-45 at halftime after NOLA fared poorly in many aspects offensively.