NBA: Heat cruise against depleted Pelicans
Bam Adebayo scored 26 points to lead seven Miami scorers in double figures and the visiting Heat dominated from start to finish in a 124-98 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night.
Adebayo made 11 of 15 field-goal attempts, Jimmy Butler scored 18 points, Max Strus had 16 points and 10 assists, Gabe Vincent scored 16, Tyler Herro had 14, and Caleb Martin and Orlando Robinson scored 10 each for the Heat, who opened a 20-point lead in the first quarter and remained in control throughout.
Miami finished with its largest margin of victory this season while handing New Orleans its most-lopsided defeat.
CJ McCollum scored 21 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Naji Marshall scored 12, and Jose Alvarado added 11 to lead the short-handed Pelicans, who remained without injured starters Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Herbert Jones Jr.
Bam's shot was falling all night in another dominant effort. 💥
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 19, 2023
Valanciunas had two baskets as New Orleans, which was returning from a five-game road trip, began the third quarter with a 9-4 run to creep within 14 points.
Butler had five points and assisted on Kyle Lowry’s 3-pointer that increased the lead to 82-62.
Vincent beat the quarter clock with a 3-pointer for the second time in the game to send the Heat into the fourth quarter with a 98-76 lead.
Lowry, returning from a four-game absence due to knee soreness, made his first two field-goal attempts and Herro had four points and five assists as the Heat took a 30-10 lead.
McCollum didn’t score for nearly 10 minutes, then had his first eight points in a span of 50 seconds to help the Pelicans get within 10. Vincent beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer that gave Miami a 36-23 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Valanciunas’ basket started the second-quarter scoring, but Miami scored the next nine points to take a 45-25 lead.
The Heat took their biggest lead of the quarter when Herro’s layup gave them a 66-40 advantage.
McCollum made two 3-pointers and Alvarado made one during a closing 11-4 run that trimmed Miami’s lead to 70-51 at halftime.
Miami’s lead got as high as 30, when Robinson’s tip-in made it 116-86 with 5:04 left to play.