So after burning all of a 12-point fourth-quarter lead, and after offering a reminder of everything that went wrong in a one-point loss to the Detroit Pistons three days earlier, the Heat finally got it right in overtime, holding off the New Orleans Pelicans 94-88 Friday at AmericanAirlines Arena.
The Heat won the rebounding battle 57-45 but could do little to contain Anthony Davis from putting his imprint in the game with 29 points and 15 rebounds, with a double-double already secured in the first half.
The Miami Heat almost gifted the New Orleans Pelicans a win despite leading for much of their Christmas Day matchup, as the Pelicans had the final shot in regulation with a chance to win.
Good news for the home side, as Miami (16-11) will welcome back starting point guard Goran Dragic, who will play today against New Orleans. The Heat climbed to 17-11 with the win as the Pelicans fell to 9-20.
The Christmas Day winning streak now stretches seven years, in a game with such low shooting percentage that it practically felt seven years long. 364 from the field in the first half, including 2 of 12 on 3-pointers, and the Pelicans at. Davis was incredible in the first half, finishing with 20 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals and three blocks and outscoring the rest of his team by two points. Hassan Whiteside had 16 points, 16 rebounds and 14 blocks while Dwayne Wade added 19 points and five rebounds to help his team.
New Orleans’ largest first-half deficit was 13 points, which was trimmed to 42-38 going into intermission after Davis’ follow-slam closed the scoring. New Orleans’ improved play has a lot to do with the return of G Tyreke Evans, who missed the first 17 games with a knee injury. The Pelicans also held Miami to 15 points in the second quarter. “It’s competitive and it’s disappointing to lose those games at the end”, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters after Tuesday’s setback.
The Pelicans went cold in the overtime session, however, and the Heat were able to secure the home win, as Wade scored six points in bonus time.
Pelicans guard Norris Cole, in his fifth pro season, played in his fifth Christmas Day game.