Postgame recap: Pelicans 109, Heat 94

by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

Pelicans (17-16), Heat (17-16)

MIAMI – A weekend visit to the warmth of the Sunshine State may have been just what the Pelicans needed. New Orleans capped a back-to-back sweep of Florida’s two NBA teams Saturday, pulling away from Miami in the third quarter to go up by double digits. The previous night, the Pelicans rolled to one of their most comfortable victories of 2017-18, beating Orlando 111-97. Prior to this pre-Christmas trip to Florida, New Orleans had dropped eight of its previous 12 games.

New Orleans led Saturday just 56-53 at halftime, but went on an extended 25-11 run to go up by 17 points late in the third quarter. While the trio of Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Jrue Holiday did most of the offensive damage Friday in Orlando, on Saturday the Pelicans received stellar play from a series of role players and reserves. For example, second-unit guard Ian Clark turned in his best performance since joining New Orleans as a free agent this summer, sinking five three-pointers and tallying a season-best 19 points. Four different Pelicans reserves made at least one shot from beyond the arc in the first half, setting the tone for an excellent night from deep.

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

Cousins powered his way to a layup along the left baseline, giving New Orleans an 89-69 lead with 9:29 left and causing Miami’s Erik Spoelstra to use a timeout. The Pelicans kept building upon their advantage, going up by 24 before the Heat dropped in several garbage-time hoops to make the final margin tighter.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

Clark was instrumental in turning what had been a relatively close game into a blowout, going on a deep-shooting barrage in the second half. The 2017 NBA champion with Golden State had just five points at intermission, but rang up 14 points after that, including four three-pointers. Overall, he started a blazing 7/9 from the field, including 5/6 on three-pointers, before missing a couple late-game attempts.

QUOTES TO NOTE

“I’ve been in similar situations throughout my career, being able to just be ready when your number is called, and go out and try to help the team in any way possible.” – Clark on being able to make a major impact Saturday, despite up-and-down playing time in recent weeks

“He’s a real pro. Nobody likes not playing, and it’s been tough for him, because he hasn’t played a lot of minutes. But the thing I like about him and admire most about him is he’s always in (the gym), always getting himself ready to play. So when you call on him, you can get results like what we got tonight.” – Alvin Gentry on Clark’s contribution

“Defense and effort. (Miami is) probably one of the hardest-playing teams in the league. I think we did a good job of coming out and not only matching their effort, but raising ours.” – Cousins in his postgame interview with WRNO 99.5 FM, on one emphasis for New Orleans and key to a win for the Heat

“He came in frying. That’s a guy that’s in the gym every day, working his tail off, no matter if he plays 10 minutes or zero minutes. You’ve just got to appreciate a guy like that, and when they have a night like this, you can’t be anything but happy for them.” – Cousins on Clark’s production in a bigger-than-normal role Saturday

BY THE NUMBERS

9-9: New Orleans road record, a major improvement from last season, when it went 13-28. The ninth away triumph in 2016-17 didn’t come until mid-February.

14: Pelicans turnovers, an improvement from several recent mistake-filled offensive games. New Orleans committed the bulk of those Saturday in the first quarter, but was cleaner as the night progressed.

15/25: New Orleans three-point shooting in Miami, led by Clark’s five makes and Darius Miller going 3/5, also off the bench. The Pelicans experienced a rare bad stretch Tuesday and Friday on this road trip, shooting 15/50 in the games against Washington and Orlando, but bounced back nicely at Miami.

Pelicans vs. Heat Postgame: Jrue Holiday 12-23-17

Jrue Holiday postgame interview after scoring 13 vs the Miami Heat

Game 33: Pelicans at Heat 12/23/17

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Pelicans vs. Heat Postgame: Jrue Holiday 12-23-17

Jrue Holiday postgame interview after scoring 13 vs the Miami Heat
Dec 23, 2017  |  01:24

Pelicans vs. Heat Postgame: Alvin Gentry 12-23-17

Alvin Gentry postgame interview as the Pelicans defeat the Heat 109-94
Dec 23, 2017  |  02:15

Pelicans vs. Heat Postgame: Ian Clark 12-23-17

Ian Clark talks about his season-high scoring game against the Miami Heat.
Dec 23, 2017  |  01:55

Pelicans Highlights vs Heat 12-23-17

Pelicans get the 109-94 win in Miami against the Heat bringing the Pelicans record to 17-16 on the season.
Dec 23, 2017  |  01:59

Davis with the give-and-go to Rondo

Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo reverse roles for a sweet transition bucket
Dec 23, 2017  |  00:20

Boogie to AD alley-oop

DeMarcus Cousins puts it up high and Anthony Davis finishes
Dec 23, 2017  |  00:16

Anthony Davis keeps the block party going

The Pelicans are policing the rim well tonight, notching 6 blocks so far before the half.
Dec 23, 2017  |  00:16

Pelicans vs Heat 1st Quarter Highlights

Pelicans down by one at the end of the 1st quarter look turn things around in the 2nd.
Dec 23, 2017  |  01:29

Cousins Throws It Down

Jrue Holiday dishes to DeMarcus Cousins for the two-handed jam.
Dec 23, 2017  |  00:14

DeMarcus Cousins with a big-time block

Boogie protects the rim with authority.
Dec 23, 2017  |  00:18

Anthony Davis uses his wingspan

Anthony Davis uses his full wingspan for the block against the Miami Heat
Dec 23, 2017  |  00:09