The New Orleans Pelicans (26-21) had a 16-point lead at halftime against the Miami Heat (26-22) and looked primed to march off with a comfortable victory. However, their advantage quickly dissipated in the second half as uncharacteristic turnovers sunk their chances of success.
They finished with 25 turnovers, representing their worst total for the season, undoing all of the hard work from earlier. Trey Murphy III put up 17 points as one of six Pelicans who featured in double digits but he only scored 3 points during the second half when the Heat burst.
Valuable contributions from Valanciunas, who earned his 25th double-double with 14 points and 16 rebounds, could not push the game far enough in their favor as they succumbed to a 100-96 defeat.
Both teams finished with subpar performance on shooting, especially from three where the Pel shot just 26.7% while the Heat finished with 23.5%.
Heat Surged Back
The Pelicans had a seemingly comfortable lead with 3:52 remaining in the first half, thanks to Murphy’s dunk to put them sixteen points ahead. However, that wasn’t enough to guarantee a win — Herro halted their momentum with a three-pointer in what turned out to be a 10-0 closing run for the Heat, making the score 47-31 at halftime.
With only fifteen seconds remaining in the match, the Pelicans were seemingly robbed of their chance when a five-second violation was called after they argued that Dyson Daniels had called for a time-out.
A jump ball shortly after allowed them one last chance, but the potentially game-winning 3-point shot from McCollum failed and Victor Oladipo secured the win for the Heat with two free throws.
Tyler Herro leads all scorers with 26 points while Kyle Lowry used every inch of his experience in the last game as he dished nine out of his 17 assists with just three minutes left on the clock.
Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler contributed 18 points apiece, Lowry finished with 17, while Oladipo added 11 markers off the bench.
Tough Stretch for the Pels
The Pelicans’ losing streak is concerning, to say the least; their 8-13 record over the last 21 games has been frustrating for both players and fans alike. What’s worse, the team’s failure to score 100 points or more on their recent road trips marks a noticeable and alarming change from their 4th-place league ranking earlier in the season.
As other teams in the NBA have explored new strategies and approaches, New Orleans appears to be increasingly behind the curve with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram still sidelined- leaving them vulnerable to further losses as they battle in the West.
Pels continues to have a well-distributed offense, with six players in double figures but failed to show consistency on the court.
Miami heat will face the Boston Celtics (35-12) at TD Garden and will try to even up their season series. Meanwhile, the Pels are looking to end their losing skid as they host Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets (33-14).