Postgame wrap: Heat 102, Pelicans 96

Heat (13-16), Pelicans (15-16)
by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

New Orleans has been a top-five offensive team and top-five rebounding squad for the bulk of the 2018-19 regular season, but fared poorly in both of those areas Sunday, resulting in a home defeat to Miami. The Pelicans threatened one of their lowest field-goal percentages of the campaign (40.7), while allowing the Heat to pull down 22 offensive rebounds, the most by any NOLA opponent this season.

In the final game of his NBA career in the Crescent City, Miami franchise stalwart Dwyane Wade was among the Heat leaders in scoring, compiling a 19-point night off the bench.

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

Miami took an eight-point lead with 50 seconds remaining, when Wade dropped in a floater over the New Orleans defense. A major turning point occurred at the end of the first half, when Wade banked in an off-balance three-pointer just before the buzzer, to give the visitors a 57-51 lead. Miami then reeled off an 8-0 run to open the third period, building its biggest lead to that stage at 14.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

Jrue Holiday posted 22 points, highlighted by 4/8 three-point shooting, before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Holiday logged 41 minutes of playing time. While Holiday had one of his better nights from beyond the arc, several Pelicans perimeter misfired there. Aside from the All-Defense guard, New Orleans was 9/28, including the bench going 5/21.

FOCUS ON: HITTING THE ROAD

New Orleans would prefer to end its recent trend of alternating wins and losses by becoming more consistent, but the Pelicans would also love to see it continue at least on Wednesday, when they visit Milwaukee. When the schedule was released in August, this three-game road trip stood out more for its odd geography – starting in Wisconsin, then ending with two games in California – than the opposition, but that’s changed greatly since opening night. The Bucks were a lower-seeded playoff team last season that went through an in-season coaching change, but new sideline boss Mike Budenholzer has helped transform Milwaukee into one of the East’s top teams. The Lakers and LeBron James were expected to go through some growing pains as they integrated numerous unconventional pieces to the puzzle, but instead Los Angeles has some NBA analysts wondering if it might vie for West biggest-threat-to-Golden State status. Meanwhile, Sacramento was projected to be the worst or second-worst team in the West, but the Kings are stunningly over .500 and playing some of the fastest and most fun basketball in the league right now. Given New Orleans’ place in the standings, it might prefer a more manageable trio of hosts, but the trek to the Midwest and West Coast figures to be a considerable challenge.

BY THE NUMBERS

57-38: Miami rebounding advantage overall, led by Hassan Whiteside’s 12 boards, including six apiece on offense and defense.

41.8: Heat shooting percentage, which was barely better than what the Pelicans shot. However, Miami got numerous second-chance points – and even third-chance points.

42: New Orleans points in the paint, far below what the Pelicans are accustomed to generating. NOLA only had 22 two-point baskets, with eight from Anthony Davis and five by Julius Randle.

Pelicans vs. Heat Postgame: Alvin Gentry 12-16-18

Head Coach Alvin Gentry speaks to the media following the Pelicans' loss to the Heat.

Game 31: Pelicans vs. Heat 12/16/18

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Pelicans vs. Heat Postgame: Alvin Gentry 12-16-18

Head Coach Alvin Gentry speaks to the media following the Pelicans' loss to the Heat.
Dec 16, 2018  |  04:28

Pelicans vs. Heat Postgame: Anthony Davis 12-16-18

Anthony Davis speaks to the media following the Pelicans' tough loss to the Miami Heat.
Dec 16, 2018  |  02:21

Pelicans vs. Heat Postgame: Jrue Holiday 12-16-18

Jrue Holiday talks about what the team needs to fix moving forward to gain consistency.
Dec 16, 2018  |  02:26

Stat Leader Highlights: Anthony Davis tallies 27 points vs. Miami Heat

Pelicans Anthony Davis led the team with 27 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in the loss to the Miami Heat.
Dec 16, 2018  |  00:00

Anthony Davis Throwdown

Pelicans Anthony Davis puts the spin move on Kelly Olynyk for the soaring slam.
Dec 16, 2018  |  00:00

Jrue Holiday knocking 'em down

Pelicans Jrue Holiday hits the tough shot late against the Heat.
Dec 16, 2018  |  00:00

Anthony Davis beats the clock

Pelicans Anthony Davis knocks down the bucket before the shot clock expired.
Dec 16, 2018  |  00:00

Anthony Davis Baseline Drive

Pelicans Anthony Davis sprints down the baseline and draws the contact.
Dec 16, 2018  |  00:19

Julius Randle Hoop and Harm

Pelicans Julius Randle goes strong to the rim for the bucket and one.
Dec 16, 2018  |  00:20

Anthony Davis defends the fast break

Pelicans Anthony Davis runs the floor and blocks the fast break shot.
Dec 16, 2018  |  00:21

Solomon Hill Slam

Pelicans Solomon Hill collects the pass from Anthony Davis for the dunk.
Dec 16, 2018  |  00:21

Solomon Hill dropping dimes to Julius Randle

Pelicans Solomon Hill slings in the pass to Julius Randle for the slam.
Dec 16, 2018  |  00:14

Anthony Davis flies in for the alley-oop slam

Pelicans Andrew Harrison feeds Anthony Davis with the lob.
Dec 16, 2018  |  00:00

Andrew Harrison Transition Triple

Pelicans Anthony Davis bats away the pass which leads to a transition three from Andrew Harrison.
Dec 16, 2018  |  00:16

Anthony Davis with Authority

Pelicans Anthony Davis fights for the rebounds and rises up to flush it home.
Dec 16, 2018  |  00:20

Anthony Davis Drive and Finish

Pelicans Anthony Davis drives to the rim and finishes through the contact.
Dec 16, 2018  |  00:24
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