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GAME PREVIEW: Heat visit McCollum, Pelicans to end 6-game trip

The Heat will get the first look at CJ McCollum with the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night.

Miami Heat v Washington Wizards Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images


The Miami Heat (35-20) are wrapping up a 6-game road trip when they visit the New Orleans Pelicans (22-32) on Thursday night. This will be the Heat’s last western conference road game of the season.

The Pelicans started the season 1-12, but have responded and are in search of a play-in spot for the playoffs. They’ve won 4 games in a row and just acquired CJ McCollum who will make his debut tonight. The Heat have won three in a row and after this game will play 15 of their next 20 games at home.

Miami had a 15 point win over New Orleans in November, a game that Kyle Lowry and Bam Adebayo did not play in. But that means very little to this matchup. This seems like a bit of a trap game as anytime a team acquires someone like McCollum, there is always a lot of excitement and energy in that first game. Add on top that Heat players and staff have been on the road for 12 days — it could be a bad combination.

Regardless, the KEY MATCHUP will be Bam Adebayo vs Jonas Valanciunas. Bam has been great on this road trip and he’s getting much more aggressive. But players like Valanciunas have given him trouble. Jonas isn’t easily moved, and he will stretch Bam on the glass and make him work. Valanciunas is averaging 18.1 PPG and 11.6 RPG this season. He’s a formidable foe and a matchup to watch.

The cross matchups will be hard for Miami because they can’t afford to switch Duncan Robinson on anyone but Herbert Jones in the starting lineups — Graham, CJ, and Ingram will all iso the life out of Duncan very quickly.

ODDS: FiveThirtyEight gives the Heat a 55% chance to win the game.




  • Victor Oladipo: out (knee; surgery rehab)
  • Tyler Herro: probable (knee)
  • Caleb Martin: probable (achillies)
  • Markieff Morris: out (conditoning)


  • Zion Williamson: out (knee)
  • Kira Lewis Jr.: out (knee)
  • Larry Nance Jr.: out (knee)


Projected Starters

Celtics Position Heat
Celtics Position Heat
Marcus Smart PG Kyle Lowry
Jaylen Brown SG Max Strus
Jayson Tatum SF Jimmy Butler
Al Horford PF PJ Tucker
Robert Williams III C Bam Adebayo


TV: Bally Sports Sun, NBA League Pass
RADIO: The Ticket 790AM & The HEAT Radio Network (Jason Jackson, Ruth Riley Hunter)
SPANISH RADIO: WAQI 710AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda, Joe Pujala)

Come back to Hot Hot Hoops at game time to join our GameThread and chat about the game live with other Heat fans!