MIAMI (AP) — Josh Richardson scored 20 points, Dwyane Wade added 18 and the Miami Heat wasted most of a 31-point lead before hanging on to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 106-101 on Friday night.
Kelly Olynyk scored 13 for Miami, which snapped a six-game home losing streak. The Heat led by 31 points in the second quarter, then saw the lead cut to three in the final moments before escaping.
Anthony Davis finished with 41 points for the Pelicans, who got 21 from Jrue Holiday and 15 from Nikola Mirotic. The Heat held a massive 49-12 edge in bench scoring, led by Wade.
He had a drive with 1:23 left to get the lead up to 103-97, and Richardson’s driving basket with 26.1 seconds remaining all but sealed the much-needed win for Miami.
Miami entered on a six-game losing streak, and decided to make a key change in an effort to turn things around — the black “Vice” uniforms, whose unveiling coincided with the start of the home slide, were ditched in a decision that was made shortly before game time. The Heat donned their red uniforms instead, calling the switch “an organizational decision.”
Plus, as part of the tributes around the NBA this week to the late broadcaster Craig Sager and his most unique sense of fashion, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and his assistants wore their outlandish best. Spoelstra wore a blue and white plaid coat, assistant Dan Craig went with a leathery look and Juwan Howard wore sneakers that loosely resembled the sort of colorful jackets Sager made famous.
The Heat led by 20 after one quarter — their biggest lead at home through 12 minutes since Jan. 30, 2007. By the midpoint of the second quarter, the lead was a season-high 31. Richardson had 14 points, Wade had 11, the Pelicans had missed all 11 of their 3-point attempts and Miami was up 52-21.
Richardson’s 3-pointer with 2:56 left in the half pushed Miami’s lead to 59-28.
And then things got interesting, quickly.
New Orleans needed only 97 seconds for a 12-0 run that cut the deficit to 19, and the Pelicans went into the locker room down 61-41. Davis then scored the Pelicans’ first 11 points of the second half with a jumper, two 3-pointer and three free throws after getting fouled on a 3 to get his team within 65-52.
E’Twaun Moore left with 1:34 left with what appeared to be a left knee injury, and was unable to put any weight on that leg as he was helped to the locker room.
Pelicans: New Orleans is 9-2 at home, yet only 2-10 on the road. … Davis hadn’t scored more than 33 points in a road game this season. He’s reached 40 or more twice at home. This also marked the most he’s scored in any of his six appearances in Miami since joining the NBA; before Friday, his high on the Heat home floor was 29, set on Christmas 2015.
Heat: Friday started a stretch in which Miami will play nine out of 10 games against Western Conference teams. … The game marked Miami’s 390th consecutive home sellout, tying the Phoenix Suns (1990-99) for the seventh-longest in NBA history. … Whiteside now has at least one blocked shot in 22 straight games, the fourth-longest such streak of his career.
Miami’s injury situation is getting worse, not better. The Heat are up to 62 games missed by eight different players because of injuries — Goran Dragic is still out with his right knee injury, Tyler Johnson sat again with his right hamstring strain, Dion Waiters hasn’t played this season while he recovers from ankle surgery and Derrick Jones Jr. is now out with a right hamstring strain.
The Pelicans failed in their bid for history. The largest halftime deficit ever overcome in franchise history was 19 — they were the New Orleans Hornets then — at Memphis on Jan. 30, 2010. When trailing by 20 or more, New Orleans is now 0-38. And it has never rallied from more than 23 down at any point in a game to win.
Pelicans: Visit Charlotte on Sunday.
Heat: Host Utah on Sunday.
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