Heat Burn Pelicans To Open Christmas Day
The first game of Christmas Day ended in a Miami Heat win, one that came without the extended services of thei superstar.
Here are the key takeaways from the opening matchup of Christmas Day.
1. Duncan Robinson's hot first half
Miami sharpshooter Duncan Robinson was already heralded as one of the best shooters in the league before Friday, but he used Christmas Day to remind anyone who might have forgotten.
Robinson made six 3-pointers in the first half, a Christmas Day record, helping to grow the Heat's lead to as much as 20 through the first 24 minutes.
For the game, Robinson ended up hitting 7-of-13 from beyond the arc, on his way to a 23-point outing.
Robinson might not be the All-Star that Jimmy Butler or Bam Adebayo are for the Heat, but on Friday, he proved to be their most effective player, outscoring Adebayo (17) and Butler (4) in 32 minutes of play.
2. Dynamic Duke duo
Individually, both Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram were brilliant for the Pelicans last season, each averaging over 20 points. But at times, the two didn't always fit seamlessly on the court, especially with Williamson only playing in 24 games last year.
However, so far in 2020, the two Duke alums have the look of one of the league's most potent young duos.
On Friday, Williamson scored 32 points and pulled down 14 rebounds, and most importantly, he played 38 minutes, a welcome sight for New Orleans fans.
Ingram added in 28 points, displaying the three-level scoring ability that made him a first time All-Star last season.
The Pelicans might not have secured a win on Christmas, but they look to have secured a tandem that can lead their franchise in the right direction this season in beyond, especially with Williamson not on a minutes restriction.
3. Jimmy Butler's ankle
Despite the win, there is a little cause for concern coming out of Friday for Miami, with superstar guard Jimmy Butler battling a right ankle issue.
Miami's All-Star forward left the game with ankle stiffness in the first half and didn't return, playing only 16 minutes, finishing with four points, six rebounds and five assists.
It didn't hurt the Heat much against New Orleans, and Miami was able to show off its depth, with six players scoring in double figures.
In fact, the Heat bench outscored New Orleans' bench, 47-21.
Still, a healthy Butler is the key to Miami's attempt to repeat as Eastern Conference champions.