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Heat dominate Pelicans, 124-98

Miami led wire-to-wire against the shorthanded New Orleans Pelicans.

Miami Heat v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

The Miami Heat visited a New Orleans Pelicans team without Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram Wednesday night. And the Heat did what they were supposed to do, jumping out to an early lead and never looking back.

Miami made their first seven field goals and grabbed a 30-10 lead, ignited with some crisp ball movement and good defense forcing Pelicans turnovers. The only run New Orleans mustered came early in the third, but Miami quickly restored order. Erik Spoelstra rested Jimmy Butler the entire fourth quarter in a 124-98 Heat win.

Bam Adebayo and Butler motored the Heat from the opening tip. Adebayo showcased his defensive versatility and made numerous short jumpers en route to scoring 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the field to go along with eight rebounds in 30 minutes. He’s the best Miami candidate for the All-Star team and he showed why tonight.

Butler added 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field to go along with seven assists in just 27 minutes. As he often does, Butler settled the Heat when they needed a basket to keep New Orleans at bay. He’d take advantage of a smaller defender and look for an easy score.

Wednesday also marked Kyle Lowry’s return after a four-game absence. He shot 3-of-5 from the field for seven points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out four assists in his 22 minutes. That was enough on a night against a depleted Pelicans team. (It seemed like CJ McCollum carried New Orleans for stretches.) But as the Heat continue to look to gain ground in the Eastern Conference standings, Lowry may need to do more.

Lowry’s return moved Gabe Vincent back onto his bench role, and he thrived. Vincent made two buzzer-beating 3s — one at the end of the first quarter, the other to close the third — to finish with 16 points.

He and Max Strus each knocked down four 3s, a welcome sight for a Heat team that has struggled from beyond the arc. (And Wednesday was still not a good 3-point shooting night; Tyler Herro was 0-for-7 from 3.)

Victor Oladipo added seven points and four assists off the bench. Orlando Robinson chipped in 10 points and four rebounds. McCollum even committed a flagrant foul on Robinson as the backup center grabbed an offensive board. Robinson still has room to grow, though. He fumbled the ball a few times when he received the ball in good position to score and air-balled a floater another time.

The Heat will continue their road trip with a visit to the Dallas Mavericks Friday night at 7:30 p.m.