Heat At New Orleans To Face Struggling Pelicans

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NEW ORLEANS, La. (SportsDirect Inc.) — The New Orleans Pelicans were hoping to kick-start a turnaround in the opener of a five-game homestand, but once again they fell short.

The Pelicans will try once more to create a spark when they continue their lengthy stay at the Smoothie King Center with Friday’s visit from the Miami Heat.

“(Taking advantage of the homestand) is our focus,” Tyreke Evans told reporters following Wednesday’s 121-110 loss to Oklahoma City in the opener of the homestand. “We know that by New Year’s we need to be on a roll and take care of home court. This is one we should’ve won, but they out-toughed us.”

Anthony Davis did his thing with 34 points and 15 rebounds while Jrue Holiday added 23 points and 10 assists in the loss, which dropped New Orleans to 6-10 at home.

The Heat are coming off a 3-3 homestand, picking up a 115-109 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in the finale Thursday night. Justise Winslow scored a career-high 23 points and matched his personal best in two other categories with 13 rebounds and four steals.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Miami), FSN New Orleans

ABOUT THE HEAT (10-20): Hassan Whiteside matched Winslow in both points and rebounds in the win over the Lakers while Goran Dragic chipped in 21 points for Miami, which had its best offensive output in regulation. Whiteside’s string of double-doubles sits at six in a row, which is one shy of matching his longest run of the season. The big man is averaging 22 points and 16.7 rebounds during the streak and had 24 (10-of-11 shooting) and 14 in the previous meeting with the Pelicans near the end of last season.

ABOUT THE PELICANS (10-21): Evans has been on a minutes restriction since returning from a knee injury but should begin to steal more time from a handful of other guards, namely rookie Buddy Hield, who was beginning to heat up before going 0-for-3 from the floor in a 19-minute stint against the Thunder. Even with the three misses – all from 3-point range – Hield is hitting 49 percent of his long-range shots in December after going 26.5 percent in November. Davis is averaging 34.1 points and 12.6 rebounds at home and 31.3 and 12.2 with a day of rest between games.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Holiday has at least nine assists in three of his last five games after reaching that mark just once in his first 11 contests.

2. Heat SG Rodney McGruder (ankle) has missed two straight games, SG Wayne Ellington (hamstring) has been absent for three in a row and SG Dion Waiters (groin) has sat out 14 consecutive contests.

3. Dragic is 11-for-18 from outside the arc while averaging 23.7 points over the last three games.

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