NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Bam Adebayo scored 26 points and the Miami Heat led comfortably from the first quarter on in a 124-98 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night.
“We played great basketball for the entire game,” said Adebayo, who made 11 of 15 shots in about 30 minutes on the court.
“We’re always trying to get each other going and you love to have teammates like that,” Adebayo added. “I’m just getting to my spots. Guys want me to be assertive, want me to be aggressive.”
Jimmy Butler added 18 points and Gabe Vincent hit four 3-pointers as part of a 16-point night for the Heat. They never trailed and led for all but the first two minutes en route to their fourth victory in five games.
Spoelstra said Lowry could have played more but there was no need to push him with the game in hand.
“His minutes, particularly in the first half, were really good,” Spoelstra said, noting an early steal by Lowry and his generally physical presence on defense.
Miami led by 20 in the first quarter when Vincent’s 3 made it 30-10. The Pelicans responded with a 10-2 run and briefly got as close as 33-23 on Naji Marshall’s driving layup as he was fouled, but Miami didn’t let it get tighter in the opening half.
Vincent’s 3 as the horn sounded to end the first quarter started a 12-2 run and Miami rebuilt its lead to 23 when Max Strus’ 3 made it 54-21.
“Offensively, Kyle, Jimmy, Tyler, Bam were all incredibly assertive right from start of the game and that’s kind of mentality we have to have,” Spoelstra said.
Miami reached the most points scored against New Orleans in a first half this season when Tyler Herro’s finger roll made it 70-46.
Alvarado’s banked 3 in the final seconds of the half pulled New Orleans to 70-51.
Heat: Strus finished with 16 points and 10 assists. … Herro scored 14 points. … Caleb Martin and Orlando Robinson each scored 10 points. … Have won five straight meetings, three of those in New Orleans. … Shot 59.2% in the first half (29 of 49), before finishing at 53.2% (50 of 94). … Went 12 of 35 from 3-point range.
Pelicans: Pelicans coach Willie Green chose to use his challenge in the second quarter when Alvarado was called for a defensive foul on a drive by Caleb Martin, whose elbow struck the Pelicans guard in the face. Officials ruled that the elbow as a “natural act” and the blocking foul on Alvarado stood. … Herb Jones sat out with a lower back bruise. … Williamson missed his eighth straight game with a strained right hamstring. … Brandon Ingram missed his 26th straight game with a left large toe contusion.
Spoelstra grinned as he stated that Strus’ 10 assists were likely “his most at any level.”
Strus said that sounded about right.
“Man, I’ve never passed the ball that much in my life,” he said.
Heat: At Dallas on Friday night.
Pelicans: At Orlando on Friday night.
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