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Game on: Heat @ Pelicans
Both teams are playing back to backs, with Miami coming off a tough, grind-it-out win in Memphis. The Heat have actually been fairly poor on the road (by their standards) this season, only going 20-14 away from Miami. That means, of course, that the Pelicans have a chance tonight, particularly since Dwyane Wade has only played in a couple back to backs this season – instead being selectively held out in one of the two games. He played last night, so it’s likely he will not be playing tonight. Even more important for the Pelicans – the Heat have been struggling lately against a slate of pretty solid teams. They’ve gone 4-6 over their last ten, and have actually been pretty mediocre defensively all season.
On the flip side, the Pelicans may have lost Eric Gordon for the game tonight, as he left last night’s game in Atlanta with knee tendinitis. While the two players aren’t comparable, another injury will put more strain on a thin Pelican squad.
Keys to the Game
- The primary reason the Heat have struggled in their past ten has been weakness on the glass, posting rebound rates in the bottom five on both sides of the court. While this doesn’t play into the Pelicans strengths right now – it does mean that Davis should be able to cause major issues around the rim.
- Ray Allen has had a down year, but his shot has come back over the last month and he’s become as deadly as he has in the past. If Reke is put on him – with his tendency to cheat away from shooters – it’s going to get ugly.
- Miami has a lot of fast hands on defense. The Pelicans need to control their urges to force tight passes between bigs or dump of hard-to-handle passes in the paint on pick and rolls. If they try that a lot, they have no chance. The Heat are the best in the league at finishing on the run.
Enjoy the Game!