In perhaps his last chance to prove his case for a roster, Coach Sploestra gave James Ennis the starting nod in place of Deng, but the 6'7 small forward dislocated his left ring finger early and only played 5 minutes. Whiteside showed his potential, playing just his 3rd game of the preseason and having a productive 10 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks, finishing the preseason atop the blocks board in the NBA. Gerald Green also continued his inspiring preseason, having his his second straight 20 point game, and finishing with 24 points and 5 rebounds on 66% shooting. Green did most of his damage in the first half with 18 quick points in 15 minutes.
Miami kept the game close in the first half but a 18-9 swing in the third quarter by the Pelicans gave them the momentum heading into the fourth. Anthony Davis was a big part of it looking like he was in full mid-season form; Miami could not stop him as he put up a monster 25 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 blocks. In the fourth, Miami would retake the lead and be ahead for most of the quarter, winning 83-81 with 4:11 to play, but a pair of 3's from Ryan Anderson and Davis and 4 late, made free-throws from Eric Gordon and Jrue Holiday kept the Pelicans in front and ultimately sealed the game.
The loss will be the last note of Miami's 4-4 preseason but it shouldn't say a lot because the Heat showed great potential as well questions that need to be answered. The projected starting lineup didn't really get to show off their capabilities but Gerald Green, the Heat's best preseason player did, gaining the trust of the coaching staff as he led the team with 17.75 points per game in the brief 8 game season.
The Heat's first game of the regular season will be on Wednesday against the Charlotte Hornets at 7:30 P.M in Miami.