Heat dominate Pelicans from start to finish
The Miami Heat arrived in New Orleans known for their stingy defense but also known for being challenged to score.
The Heat are last in the NBA in points per game.
You never would have known it Wednesday night.
Miami never trailed in a dominant performance on both ends of the floor in a 124-98 blowout victory over New Orleans at Smoothie King Center in the first game after 12 days away from home for the Pelicans.
New Orleans tied the game at 2-2 and it was all heat from that point as the Heat dominated in all phases.
Miami hit seven straight shots to take a 14-6 lead early.
The lead grew to 27-8 as Miami went on a 13-0 run.
The Heat played a lot of trapping zone defensively and forced five turnovers to take a 36-23 lead after one quarter.
Miami had its way, making 16 of 26 field goal attempts (61%) while their bench played a big role in building the lead by outscoring New Orleans reserves 13-2.
The ball movement by the Heat was a thing of beauty to watch. The extra passes and successful pick-and-rolls dazzled in the first half.
Miami built a 26-point lead in the second quarter before New Orleans closed to 70-51 by halftime.
CJ McCollum carried the Pelicans with 17 points, including 5 of 6 from 3-point range. He would only score four points the rest of the way.
The Heat finished the half at 59 percent from the field (29 of 49).
The 70 points were the most allowed in the first half this season by New Orleans.
The Pelicans went on a 7-0 run early in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 72-58 but got no closer as Miami took a 98-76 lead to the fourth quarter and was never threatened.
Miami shared the ball as well as any team the Pelicans have played this season.
The Heat had 37 assists on 50 made field goal attempts.
Miami outrebounded New Orleans 43-37, outscored the Pelicans 64-48 in the paint and scored 24 points off 18 New Orleans turnovers.
McCollum finished with 21 points while Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Perhaps it is just a bad matchup. Miami has now won five straight over New Orleans and eight of their last nine against the Pelicans.
Before the game, Pelicans coach Willie Green said Brandon Ingram is getting closer. Ingram has now missed 30 games while Zion Williamson and Herb Jones have each missed 16 games.
The Pelicans need help and need it soon from their injured players.
The Pelicans return to the road for a two-game Florida trip, first on Friday night at Orlando before a rematch Monday night with the Heat in Miami.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…