Miami Heat vs. New Orleans Pelicans Pick & Prediction MARCH 22nd 2024

All of a sudden, Bam Adebayo has a 3-point shot.

The Miami Heat center made just nine 3-pointers in his first 472 NBA games. But, over the past four games, Adebayo is 5-for-5 from deep, sinking at least one 3-pointer in each contest.

On Friday night, Adebayo will try to keep that streak going as Miami (38-31) hosts the New Orleans Pelicans (42-27).

Miami ranks 27th out of the 30 NBA teams in scoring (109.7 points per game), and the Heat have put up 100 or fewer points 16 times — the fourth most in the league. The Heat are 2-14 in those contests.

In other words, the Heat have welcome the added component for Adebayo, who missed Miami’s most recent game — a 107-104 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday — due to a lower back contusion.

The Heat officially list Adebayo as questionable, but it sounds as if he will return on Friday.

“Coach (Erik Spoelstra) told me it was time for me to take a game off,” said Adebayo, who is averaging 19.9 points and a team-high 10.6 rebounds. “It was more maintenance than anything else.”

The Heat also are hoping to get 3-point shooter Duncan Robinson back. He also missed the Cleveland game due to a back ailment.

Miami remains without Josh Richardson (shoulder), Tyler Herro (foot) and Kevin Love (heel).

Jimmy Butler still is the spiritual leader of the Heat, and he also tops Miami in scoring (21.6), assists (4.8) and steals (1.4).

With Miami’s missing Herro’s 20.8 scoring average, recently acquired Terry Rozier has taken a bigger role.

Rozier averaged 23.2 points in 30 games this season with Charlotte. In 22 games with Miami, he is putting up just 15.7 points per game, though he topped 20 in each of the past two contests. Rozier made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 14.5 seconds left in Miami’s win at Cleveland.

“This is why we went after Terry,” Spoelstra said. “We wanted another guy who can make something happen late in games.”

Meanwhile, the Pelicans are coming off a double loss on Thursday. The team’s second-leading scorer, forward Brandon Ingram, exited due to a left knee injury during the Pelicans’ 121-106 loss to the host Orlando Magic.

Results from an MRI exam weren’t immediately known.

“Our prayers will be going up and hopefully we get some good news back,” New Orleans coach Willie Green said.

With Ingram lasting just 21 minutes on Thursday, Trey Murphy III came off the bench to score 21 points in 29 minutes during the loss.

Prior to Thursday, the Pelicans were 12-0 when Murphy scored at least 16 points.

New Orleans’ biggest star, forward Zion Williamson, finished with 20 points against the Magic, but he committed a season-high eight turnovers.

Williamson has scored at least 20 points in seven straight games. He is averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists during that stretch.

The last time New Orleans faced Miami, Williamson posted 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. However, Miami won that game, 106-95 on Feb. 23 in Louisiana.

Williamson took a hard foul from Love in that game, a play that sparked a scuffle. Two players on each team wound up getting ejected.

Green said after that contest that Williamson — listed at 6-foot-6, 284 pounds — deserves more backing from the refs.

“I don’t think he gets a great whistle,” Green said.

–Field Level Media

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