Pelican Debrief’s Preston Ellis (@PrestonEllis) has writers Adam Clausen (@adam_clausen7) and Tyler Pearson (@_Kamarr_) on to talk, after the New Orleans Pelicans’ flat performance late versus the Miami Heat.
The New Orleans Pelicans were coming off a masterful win versus the Blazers in spectacular fashion.
Things felt a bit different tonight…
The Pels traveled to Miami on the second night of their back to back, to take on a team that has gone 21-5 since starting the season 11-30.
Miami has been playing basketball better than anyone since the All Star break. They could be the first team ever to go 19 games under .500 and get back there in the same season. They were the 5th best defense and bottom 10 in offense going into this game.
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That is where we will start, because you can throw out all of the statistics.
The Heat won 120-112, in an offensive explosion that saw Miami score 66 points in the 2nd half.
Not only are the Heat in the bottom 10 in almost every offensive category, but the Pelicans had just held the 7th best offense in the NBA to 77 points the night before.
After holding one of the best three-point shooting teams to 28% they allowed Miami to shoot 46 percent from deep.
New Orleans had the Heat in a dogfight deep into the forth with a 102-101 lead. What a half it had been to that point. The teams combined for 100 points in the first 18 minutes of the 2nd half. It almost seemed like fans were getting buckets.
But in the final six minutes, the Pels sputtered as the starters reentered the game. Some crucial fouls and turnovers led to a 19-5 run and an inevitable conclusion to the game.
The Pels had trouble all game shutting down a spectacular performance from Goran Dragic. He paced the Heat with 33 points on 11/18 shooting and it was much more pleasing to the eyes than it sounds. He careened through the paint effortlessly, shifting the ball behind his back and then laying it in. It was dazzling.
Hassan Whiteside frustrated the Pelicans with 20 points and 18 rebounds on 9/11. Dion Waiters had 14 points and Ellington 19, as well as contributions from the Johnson boys, James and Tyler.
It’s also notable that one of the worst free throw shooting teams in the league shot 84% on the night.
A.D. paced the Pels with 27 on 7/17, including 13/18 from FT, eight rebounds, three blocks, three steals and also contributed one cut arm.
Boogie put up 19 points on 8/17 in 30 minutes, five fouls and one tech putting him at 19 on the year.
Holiday had 11 points on 4/12, although he did include eight assists and only one turnover to that tally.
E’Twaun Moore put up 18 points off the bench, with Dante Cunningham scoring 11 and Jordan Crawford 10 points. Crawford got a couple of “Oohs” and “Ahs” with fast break passes and Wayne Selden Jr. got his first basket of his career, finishing one of two on the night.
The Pels came out flat early on, but brought the game to 45-47 on the heels of a 14-2 run. This was led by AD and the free throw stripe, as he out-shot the Heat 12 -8 in free throw attempts by himself.
DeMarcus collected his 19th technical, which badly paces the league. He wrapped up Whiteside on an offensive possession. He hooked his arm and shoved him off. It was dumb, but a technical? Reputation can be the culprit of this one.
The Pels came out hot early in the 3rd, but ultimately trailed 85-79 at the end of the quarter. Miami was 24-3 on the year when leading after that point going into the fourth quarter.
New Orleans went up 94-92 on a Cunningham dunk and an impressive lineup consisting of Tim Frazier, Crawford, Moore, Dante and Cousins. That lineup would score on 10/11 field goals.
But as the starters were reinserted, the Heat quickly went on a 11-2 run to go up 113-104. The Pels couldn’t climb back from there.
The New Orleans Pelicans are now 5.5 games back, with just 14 left to play. This also marks the 11th game of the Boogie Era, as New Orleans is just 4-7 in that stretch.