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Heat lose big to visiting Pelicans 105-91 in Dragic's debut

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Despite the addition of the 2014 Most Improved Player, the Heat stumbled once again at the AA Arena.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

After adding the Dragic brothers and losing Chris Bosh, the Miami Heat lost 105-91 to the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday.

The first quarter began with a thud after a Hassan Whiteside goaltend and poor shooting from Dwyane Wade. Goran Dragic started but didn't handle the ball until a few minutes into the game. Dragic's quickness really helped the Heat's slow recovery times but he got a foul and missed multiple shots soon after.

Both teams had slow starts for both sides and after a Whiteside miss, Miami had missed their first five shots; one by each starter. Whiteside began his streak of dominance by blocking a shot and nailing hook shots from Wade assists. Aside from moving the ball, Wade had trouble scoring.

The slow, porous Miami defense suffered against Eric Gordon's sharpshooting from beyond the arc. Even with Dragic, it was apparent that the Heat were lost on many possessions, in contrast to New Orleans' fast ball movement. Bosh's absence became painfully apparent with Anthony Davis scoring easy points. Davis' success came to an abrupt end after reinjuring his right shoulder against Whiteside's huge chest.

There was no sense of direction with Heat's ball movement. Luol Deng was hesitating every time he had the ball, James Ennis playing wildly and Norris Cole was ironically playing well against his former team. Chris Andersen played good defense and contributed a few alley oops and Mario Chalmers was fantastic and nailed his first seven shots.

Most people would think that with Davis gone the Heat would take over, but they continued to play a sloppy game. Chalmers was the only Heat player who played well in the second quarter (Andersen was alright this quarter, fouled a few times). Shabazz Napier's quickness sped up the Heat's pace.

New Orleans gained another handicap when Chalmers stepped on Ryan Anderson's ankle and caused him to leave the game. Just when the momentum seemed to shift to the Heat's favor, Miami continued to falter. No matter how many times Whiteside swatted a shot, Wade nailed a tough move or Chalmers hit another three, Deng would hesitate on each possession and stop the ball movement. Dragic was scoreless for 11 minutes and James Ennis played poor defense. Wade and Whiteside somehow cut the lead down to 47-41 towards the end of the second quarter.

Dragic found his groove in the third quarter and scored 9 consecutive points including some nice step-back jumpers. Whiteside continued to block shots like no one's business. The Pelican's Gordon made sure stop this momentum by exploiting the Heat's weak perimeter defense and nailing several three-pointers. The fourth quarter revealed just how poor the Heat's defense is. Each time a Heat player tried to stop the offense, they ended up fouling because they were too slow to recover. This game was the 4th time in the season that the Heat never had the lead. In addition, they were down by double digits for the majority of the game.

Despite the painful loss, there are several things that Heat fans need to consider. Miami just lost arguably their best player in Bosh and haven't had a consistent roster for the majority of the season. Dragic probably had very little time to mesh with his new team and will obviously play better than he did tonight. When Josh McRoberts and Bosh recover next season, the Dragic brothers would played with a consistent lineup for a good amount of time. By then the bench would have gained more playing experience, not to mention Whiteside would continue to dominate.

Even with tonight's loss, the Heat are still above Charlotte and could still make the playoffs at the 7th or 8th seed.