Game On: Pelicans Host The Heat

Published: February 27, 2015

The New Orleans Pelicans host the Miami Heat tonight in the Smoothie King Center at 7 CT.  Miami clings to the 7th spot in the East with 5 teams all within 2 & 1/2 games of the 25-31 Heat.  They hope recent additions of Goran Dragic and Michael Beasley can keep their playoff hopes afloat with the loss of Chris Bosh for the season.  The Pels remain without 3 of their top scorers including superstar Anthony Davis, but have managed to go on a 3 game winning streak against 3 Eastern Conference playoff teams, including a 105-91 blowout of the Heat in Miami less than a week ago.

Many players have been moved into new and bigger roles for the Pelicans, and many have responded.  Quincy Pondexter, in his 3rd start of the season, had a career high 25 points in Wednesday’s win over Brooklyn.  Norris Cole, in 3 games for the Pelicans, has averaged 12.7 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds shooting 55.6% from the field after averaging 6.3 points, 3.5 assists, and 2.3 rebounds shooting 38.6% in 47 games for Miami this season.  Alexis Ajinca has had two double digit scoring outings in a row.  Luke Babbitt, having received very spotty minutes over the last month has made 13 3’s in his last 7 games, shooting 58.7% from the field.

They will need to keep it up tonight if they hope to remain relevant down the stretch.  Oklahoma City has only lost twice so far in the month of February, but despite that a win tonight would put the Pelicans just one game back from the current 8th seed.

Some Keys for tonights game:

  • Keep up the ball movement – The Pels have averaged 25 assists per game over this current 3-game win streak. (they average 21.5 per game on the season).  With many scoring options out, the Pels will need to continue to find good looks for each other.
  • Perimeter Defense – with Bosh out, players like Wade, Dragic, Chalmers, and Deng will carry a lot of the scoring load for the Heat. The Pelicans will need to sure up the perimeter, the additions of Cole, Pondexter, and Cunningham have certainly helped in that department.
  • 3-pt shot – The Pelicans have shot 42.6% on 3’s on their win streak, taking over 22 a game.  Eric Gordon has been a huge part of that, shooting 45% on the season and 52.5% in February from 3.  Keeping Gordon’s confidence up is huge for this team, look for him to continue his hot outside shooting.

Enjoy the Game, Go Pels!

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