Game Preview: Pelicans vs. Heat - March 22, 2014
For the only time during the 2013-14 season, the Miami Heat will visit the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday evening in the Smoothie King Center. Barring injury or the Heat electing to rest one of their premier players Saturday as the postseason approaches, there will be a total of four All-Stars on the court, representing current and future NBA stardom.
Two-time defending NBA champion Miami is again relying on a starting lineup that features the veteran trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Meanwhile, New Orleans has an All-Star on its roster for the first time since 2010-11, in second-year standout Anthony Davis.
In its pursuit of a third straight league title and a rare fourth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals, Miami has been carried by MVP contender James, who somehow continues to raise his performance each season. The multi-dimensional forward ranks third in the NBA in scoring average, behind only Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony, while posting the league’s No. 2 player-efficiency rating (Durant tops the list). In the same PER statistic, Davis ranks fourth, with Kevin Love holding down the third spot.
Meanwhile, Wade remains a dangerous scorer at shooting guard for Miami, but the Heat have begun scaling back his workload to keep him fresh in anticipation of the playoffs. Wade has appeared in roughly three-fourths of Miami’s games this season.
Davis was superb during the first half of the season en route to earning his first All-Star berth, but his play of late has been even more eye-opening. Over a recent six-game stretch in March, the power forward averaged 32.3 points, 14.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks. He established a new career high in scoring with 36 points vs. Portland on March 14, only to surpass that with a 40-point eruption against Boston two days later. The 21-year-old is also leading the league in blocked shots this season.
Tyreke Evans vs. LeBron James