New Orleans Pelicans at Miami Heat game preview
Dwyane Wade and Anthony Davis may have been rusty for their respective teams after returning from injuries.
The newly acquired Goran Dragic could be the difference in Saturday night’s matchup between the Miami Heat and New Orleans Pelicans.
Miami (23-30) had lost five of seven straight games missed by Dwyane Wade due to a hamstring injury. He was mediocre in Friday’s 111-87 road win over the Knicks, scoring 12 points on 4-of-10 shooting.
The Heat were without Chris Bosh, who underwent more tests and was lost for the season Saturday when it was announced that he had blood clots in one of his lungs. The team said he’ll miss at least the remainder of this season but that he is receiving care at a South Florida hospital and resting comfortably.
"Chris is OK and his prognosis is good," the Heat said in a statement.
Bosh was averaging 21.1 points and 7.0 rebounds and had a team-leading 63 3-pointers. The Heat are 4-5 without him, though Friday they took advantage of a Knicks team without Carmelo Anthony.
Saturday could see the debut of brothers Goran and Zoran Dragic after Miami acquired them Thursday. Coach Erik Spoelstra said both underwent physicals Friday.
Goran’s 50.1 field-goal percentage trails only Kyle Korver (51.2) among guards.
It remains to be seen how he will eat into the minutes of Mario Chalmers (30.9 mpg) and Shabazz Napier (20.9). Napier scored a season-high 18 on 4-of-5 3-point shooting with seven rebounds and six assists Friday, leading eight players with at least 12 points.
"We liked that it was a team effort," Spoelstra said. "You hear this all the time, that this league is a business, but that doesn’t mean you don’t go through a lot of emotions as players and staff. We’ve been through a lot in the last 24 hours, a lot of change."
The visiting Pelicans (27-27) have lost a season-worst four straight, falling 95-84 at Orlando on Friday despite getting Anthony Davis back from a two-game absence caused by a sprained shoulder.
Davis scored 13 but was 5 of 15 and matched a season high with four turnovers. He scored 30 in a 105-95 home win over Miami on March 22, ending the Heat’s five-game series winning streak.
New Orleans, which has let opponents shoot 48.8 percent during a 1-5 stretch, was poor again defensively as the Magic shot 50.0 percent and outscored the Pelicans 64-36 in the paint. They’ve averaged a minus-8.7 margin in the paint over the last six games after previously being plus-1.8 on the season.
The Pelicans also attempted a season-low 69 shots and were limited to 13 fourth-quarter points.
"That’s an anomaly. We never give up that many points in the paint," coach Monty Williams said. " … Our pace of play for whatever reason was slow. We just weren’t ready to play for 48 minutes."
Ryan Anderson was 1 of 6 from beyond the arc after missing two games with a sprained elbow.
The Pelicans, two games out of eighth place in the Western Conference, have dropped their last four matchups with sub-.500 teams.