NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, March 22nd (All times Eastern)
Miami Heat (47-20) at New Orleans Pelicans (28-40), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Miami Heat will make a brief stop in the Big Easy Saturday night for a showdown with the New Orleans Pelicans.
The last time LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were in New Orleans they were representing the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game. The trip helped the East to a 163-155 win, as James finished with 22 points, Wade added 10 and Bosh posted five points.
James, Wade and Bosh were relatively quiet in Friday's balanced 91-86 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. James scored 15 points, Wade had 14 and Bosh chipped in 11 for Miami, which rallied from a double-digit deficit in the second half and ended the game on a 14-2 run.
"When you play against a big team like this that can defend well, you have to really work the game," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "You have to be able to manage all the emotions that go on during the course of the game. ... We got down 10 in the third quarter and we just had to keep grinding."
Miami has won three of four since losing five of the previous six games.
Ray Allen led the Heat with 18 points off the bench and Mario Chalmers rounded out the double-digit scorers with 14 points. Miami remained three games behind Indiana for the East's top seed and shot 47 percent. It also took advantage of 17 Memphis turnovers and converted them into 23 points.
The Heat have struggled on the road with four losses in the last five tries. They are 20-14 away from South Beach and will return home Monday for a matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers.
New Orleans is back home after a quick departure to Atlanta and handed the Hawks a 111-105 setback Friday night.
Pelicans All-Star Anthony Davis returned from a one-game absence to score 34 points and grab 11 rebounds, while Tyreke Evans and Brian Roberts scored 21 and 16 points, respectively.
The Pelicans scored 42 points in the fourth quarter (42-34), shot 51.4 percent for the game and made 35-of-43 free throws. Davis was sent to the line 15 times and missed three.
"I think early in the fourth we made a little run," said Pelicans forward Luke Babbitt, who had 11 points off the bench. "We went with a different lineup. We were able to space out a little bit. I think guys had driving lanes. I think at the start of the fourth we were able to make a run and we were able to keep it."
It will be difficult to make runs on the Heat, but Davis provides an advantage inside for New Orleans. Davis leads the NBA with 2.9 blocks per game and his length gives opposing teams problems.
New Orleans, winners in five of the last eight games, is scheduled to be at home the next four games and is in the midst of playing 10 of 11 contests in the Big Easy. The Pelicans are 16-17 at home.
Pelicans guard Eric Gordon left Friday's game with a knee injury and could miss Saturday's contest versus the Heat, who defeated the Pelicans on Jan. 7 at AmericanAirlines Arena. James had 32 points in that one and Davis countered with 22 and 12 rebounds.
Miami has won five in a row against New Orleans, but has dropped six of seven games in the Crescent City.
03/22 10:26:18 ET