It’ll be a Friday night showdown between the Miami Heat and New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center. Both teams will be without two players — Meyers Leonard, Tyler Herro for Miami and Kenrich Williams, JJ Redick for the Pelicans.
These teams have met once so far this season, with Friday being their final meeting this season. The Heat walked away victorious at home 109-94 last time, something they’ll be looking to duplicate in New Orleans. At the same time, that game was in November before Zion’s return.
Zion brings an extra element to this team, so Miami will have to play a bit differently than they did last time. They’ll also have to play better, since Miami allowed 21 turnovers in their last game against New Orleans.
Miami Searching for Fifth-Straight Win
It’s been an impressive run for the Miami Heat in their past four games. They’ve beaten the Dallas Mavericks, Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Orlando Magic. Adding the Pelicans to that mix is exactly what this team needs as they prepare for the playoffs.
At 40-22, they currently sit in the East with the No. 4 seed. While they hold a 2.5 game lead over the No. 5 seed, they can’t let up in the coming weeks. They had a rough stretch out of the All-Star break and need to make up for lost time.
With that being said, they haven’t played too well on the road this season. They’re just 13-18 and this will be their first road game during this win streak. It will certainly do a lot for their confidence moving forward if they can get a win here.
New Orleans Needs to Snap Losing Streak
For the New Orleans Pelicans, it’s been a different story the past week or so. They’ve now lost three straight to the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Dallas Mavericks. Their last game was a tight one, losing to Dallas in overtime.
Their losing streak has sent them further down the West standings. They are now 5 games out of a playoff spot with three other teams also fighting with the Memphis Grizzlies for that spot. A string of victories is needed now rather than later if they want a playoff push.
To get there, they’ll need to play better at home. They’re just 12-19 on the year and have 11 games at home remaining — including this one. If they want to keep hope alive, it will start with the Miami Heat on Friday night.
Heat / Pelicans Betting Lines
Will the Heat finish the season sweep of the Pelicans? BetOnline has the New Orleans Pelicans (-125) with a 1.5-point advantage over the Miami Heat (+105). They expect a high-scoring game with the over/under listed at 235.5 total points.
Free Betting Pick
The sportsbooks are expecting the New Orleans Pelicans to overcome their recent struggles and their struggles at home, against a team that has been beating some of the best teams in basketball. I’m not saying they’re wrong, I’m just not sure how right they’ll be.
I’ve got the Miami Heat taking this one, though I do think it will be a battle for both teams. To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some more overtime action for Zion. It’s a good thing this game will be on ESPN because it’s one you’ll want to watch.
Final Score 117-114, Miami Heat.