In a game that was more about who didn’t play than who did, Miami prevailed as victors once again. The undermanned Pelicans proved no match for the Heat who were led by Kendrick Nunn’s 22 points. Nunn scored 9 of his 22 in the 1st quarter. With the win, Miami moves to 9-3 — tying the best start in franchise history.
#20, if you're reading this it's too late. pic.twitter.com/CWeENlH0q1— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) November 17, 2019
When it rains, it pours. Lonzo Ball (right adductor), Brandon Ingram (right knee soreness), JJ Redick (left big toe sprain), Jahlil Okafor (left ankle sprain) and Josh Hart (left ankle) did not play on Saturday night. Meanwhile, No. 1 overall selection Zion Williamson continues to rehab from an October procedure to repair his torn right lateral meniscus.
Miami was short Goran Dragic, listed out with sickness. The team also continues to deal with the absence of both Derrick Jones Jr. (strained hip) and Justise Winslow (concussion). The Heat have still yet to play a game this season with their roster at full strength.
Jimmy Butler posted his second double-double of the season dishing 13 assists and collecting 3 steals to go along with 16 points. Another all-around performance from Butler even though he did not shoot well from the field. Bam Adebayo dominated the glass and controlled the paint with 3 blocks and 14 rebounds to go alongside his 18 points.
Miami played true to their budding defensive reputation Saturday, grabbing 13 steals and only allowing New Orleans to visit the free-throw line 6 times the entire game. This was a franchise record-low for opponent attempts from the line. The Heat only committed one foul in the first half.
“They let us play,” said Head Coach Erik Spolstera, “But then if there was any slightest infraction of a step or a travel or a dribble, they called all those. But I actually liked that we didn’t let that get in the way.”
The Heat played with a slight lead and the game in control for much of the evening. That is until New Orleans made five 3-pointers early in the 4th, cutting the deficit to just five. A usually stout perimeter defense for Miami was bombed by New Orleans who made 16 triples on 45.7% shooting.
However, Kelly Olynyk’s three-pointer capped a late 10-0 run which pushed the advantage to 15 as the game waned. The Pels never recovered and Miami would cruise down the stretch.
The Heat will enjoy some much needed rest over the next 3 days when hopefully they can get healthy. Miami will look to improve its 5-0 home record on Wednesday when they host the Cavaliers.