Bam Adebayo scores 26 points, Heat beat Pelicans 124-98

Jan 18, 2023, 5:25 AM | Updated: 10:29 pm
Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) goes to the basket in the second half of an NBA basketball game ...

Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) goes to the basket in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. The Heat won 124-98. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

              Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) goes to the basket in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. The Heat won 124-98. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
            
              Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) goes to the basket in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. The Heat won 124-98. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
            
              Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) slam dunks over New Orleans Pelicans guard Dyson Daniels (11) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
            
              New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas (17) is fouled as he goes to the basket against Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
            
              New Orleans Pelicans center Willy Hernangomez (9) is fouled as he drives to the basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
            
              Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin (16) goes to the basket between New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum (3) and center Jonas Valanciunas (17) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
            
              New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum (3) battles for a loose ball with Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (14) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
            
              Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) shoots in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
            
              New Orleans Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado and Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo, behind, battle for the ball in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

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.

The Heat outscored New Orleans 64-48 in the paint and outrebounded the Pelicans 43-37, and that dominance inside had a lot to do with Adebayo’s play, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

“We ultimately want to get Bam involved as much as possible. We can’t get the ball to him enough,” Spoelstra said. “He’s great at getting all the way to the rim and he was doing that tonight.”

CJ McCollum scored 21 points for Pelicans. They’ve lost seven of 10 while playing much of that stretch without star power forward Zion Williamson.

Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 10 rebounds for New Orleans, which briefly trimmed a 19-point halftime deficit to 12 in the third quarter before Miami pulled away again.

“We didn’t show up with a level of urgency that it takes to play against good teams,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “Tonight we didn’t have it. Normally, we do, but tonight, we didn’t.

“This is the time of the season where it’s sort of the dog days,” Green added. “You’ve got to do all the little things to get yourselves prepared to play.”

Miami guard Kyle Lowry returned from left knee soreness that had sidelined him four games. He played 22 minutes and finished with seven points, eight rebounds and four assists.

“It was good to get back,” Lowry said. “I feel pretty good right now and hopefully that won’t reoccur.”

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.

TIP-INS

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.

QUOTABLE

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.

UP NEXT

Heat: At Dallas on Friday night.

Pelicans: At Orlando on Friday night.

___

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9), wide receiver Tee Higgins (85) and Cincinnati...
Associated Press

Bengals powered by 3 young stars: Burrow, Chase, Higgins

CINCINNATI (AP) — Joe Burrow says the Cincinnati Bengals’ championship window should stay open for years. “The window is my whole career,” the franchise quarterback said matter-of-factly after the Bengals clinched their second straight AFC North title. His confidence is understandable given the offensive weapons available: Receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins have gained 1,000 […]
1 day ago
San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans speaks at a news conference before an NFL fo...
Associated Press

NFC title game a Philly reunion for 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — DeMeco Ryans’ influence on the NFC championship runs through both locker rooms. Ryans finished his playing career as a linebacker for Philadelphia, earning the nickname “Mufasa” (from “The Lion King”) for the leadership skills that he taught the handful of teammates still on the Eagles that have been carried forward […]
1 day ago
FILE - Alex Hall of the United States, checks the score following his run in the slopestyle finals,...
Associated Press

Winter X daredevils ride fine line between height, happiness

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — Freestyle skier Alex Hall’s happy place this winter has been sliding down hand rails outside of offices and schools all over Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and other midwestern spots. The steeper and twistier, the better. Last winter, he found happiness at the Beijing Olympics on a run that nobody mistook for […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Georgia: SUV in crash was for recruiting, not personal use

Georgia athletic department officials say the vehicle involved in a crash that killed a football player and employee on Jan. 15 was to be used only for recruiting activities, not personal use. The University of Georgia athletic association provided that information in a statement to The Associated Press on Saturday, saying personal use of the […]
1 day ago
FILE - Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy (15) during an NCAA college football game between Iowa St...
Associated Press

Hurts, Purdy set for college-era rematch in NFC title tilt

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jalen Hurts and Brock Purdy could be primed for a shootout in the NFC championship game. It’s the first time Hurts — the league MVP finalist for the Philadelphia Eagles — and Purdy, the ” Mr. Irrelevant ” rookie sensation for the San Francisco 49ers, have matched up in the NFL. And […]
1 day ago
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pays his respects to victims of a deadly helicopter crash d...
Associated Press

Russia issue looms for Paris Olympics, Zelenskyy rebukes IOC

GENEVA (AP) — The question of if and how Russia competes at the Olympics hangs over the 2024 Paris Summer Games. Just as it has now for five straight Olympics during Thomas Bach’s leadership of the IOC, whose support this week for some Russians to compete in Paris was publicly challenged Friday by Ukrainian President […]
1 day ago
Bam Adebayo scores 26 points, Heat beat Pelicans 124-98