LeBron James, Dwyane Wade team up to lead Heat past Pelicans
MIAMI (AP) — Dwyane Wade saw LeBron James was on the move and unguarded, so he lobbed the ball toward the rim and waited for the predictable outcome.
The alley-oop looked easy — just like everything else after halftime for the Miami Heat.
James scored 32 points, Wade added 22 points and eight assists, and the Heat trailed by 11 early in the second half before running away to a 107-88 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night. That alley-oop was one of the first salvos in what turned into a 59-26 run by the two-time defending champions.
"We’re an old team, man," Wade said. "It takes us a while sometimes to get the juices flowing. Playing against a lot of young teams, they come in loose, ready. We’ve got to get our body going a little bit."
Chris Andersen was 7 for 7 from the field and scored 15 points, and Chris Bosh added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Heat (27-8). Wade added eight rebounds for Miami, which got 11 points from Ray Allen.
"We were able to turn the game around pretty fast," James said.
Anthony Davis led the Pelicans with 22 points and 12 rebounds, most of his numbers coming in the first half. Eric Gordon scored 15 and Tyreke Evans added 13 for New Orleans (15-18).
"Give them credit. They came out in the third quarter and stepped up the pressure," Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. "They made a lot of tough shots but our guys, as a whole, we’ve got to grow up and understand that when you have a (good) half against a team, they’re going to come out and attack and put pressure."
That’s precisely what happened. The Heat shot 61 percent in the third, outscoring the Pelicans 32-21 and with James nearly outscoring them by himself, putting up 16 in the period.
And in the fourth, the Heat wasted no time taking full control. Allen’s 3-pointer from the same spot where he connected with 5.2 seconds left in Game 6 of the NBA Finals started a 7-0 run to start the quarter, with the margin growing steadily from there in Miami’s final game before setting out to play its next six away from home.
"I was encouraged by the second half," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "That’s a very talented team and in the first half we couldn’t quite figure it out defensively."
It was very much a tale of two halves.
Davis had a double-double by halftime, 16 points and 10 rebounds in the opening two quarters — only the second time the 2012 No. 1 pick has managed that in his career. He was dominant with seven offensive rebounds, three steals, two blocks and 7-for-11 shooting in that half, numbers that certainly won’t hurt his shot at playing in the All-Star Game in New Orleans next month.
And the Pelicans were giving Miami all it wanted. The Heat found themselves down by as many as nine in the first half and the Pelicans had a chance just before the break to push their advantage into double figures.
Instead, two mistakes — less than a second apart — sent them into intermission up by only six.
Evans was whistled for a discontinued dribble with 1.1 seconds remaining. Miami called a timeout to set up a play, James connected with Bosh on a 35-foot pass and Bosh got fouled while attempting a 3-pointer from the top of the key. He made all three free throws with 0.2 seconds left, and Miami got within 49-43 at the half.
Mentally, that was a huge lift for the Heat.
"Every possession is very key," James said. "That was a huge point right there."
New Orleans scored the first five points of the third, getting the lead up to 11. Less than five minutes later, the lead was already gone, and the Heat were starting to roll.
"They started making shots and the momentum switched," Davis said. "And they never looked back."
NOTES: It was the 10th 30-point game of the season for James. The Heat are 9-1 when he scores that many. … The Pelicans announced Tuesday morning that F Ryan Anderson, averaging 19.8 points, is out indefinitely with a herniated disk. He got hurt against Boston on Jan. 3. … A fan seated courtside yawned in the fourth quarter. "You tired?" Wade asked her, causing the woman to laugh for about a minute afterward.