But once again the Heat could not hold on to the lead late in the second half and appeared to be in danger of letting the game slip away in the fourth quarter after a pair of Ryan Andersen 3-pointers helped the Pelicans not only erase their deficit but take their first lead of the game with less than two minutes remaining.
Miami's active defense (combined with some sloppy play by the Pelicans) helped limit their opponent to 15 points in the first quarter and just 14 in the third. But New Orleans came roaring back in the final quarter, outscoring Miami 26-15 and threatening to put a damper in the South Florida holiday spirit.
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. But Chris Bosh showed how important he is to his team when he is aggressive on offense, leading his team to victory with 30 points, his second game of the season with 30+ points, and adding 10 rebounds.
Dwyane Wade was a force to be reckoned with in the first half but his scoring output dropped considerably in the second half -- including some ill-advised shot attempts late in the final quarter when the Pelicans were threatening to steal the game. Wade turned it around in the overtime period and sank a jump shot and four free throws to help seal the victory. Hassan Whiteside grabbed 17 rebounds, scored eight points and tallied four blocks in just 25 minutes but was again a spectator late in the game.
Miami raced out to an early 13-point advantage in the first half but allowed New Orleans to get back into the game by halftime with just a four-point lead. A strong third quarter helped increase the lead to double-digits again before the Pelicans were able to mount a late comeback that almost won it in regulation.
The win marks the seventh consecutive victory in a row for the Heat on Christmas and improves their season record to 17-11.