Fixture: New Orleans Pelicans vs Miami Heat - NBA Regular Season Game
Date & Time: Friday, December 25th, 2020 - 12:00 PM ET (Thursday, December 25th, 2020, 10:30 PM IST)
Venue: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
The Miami Heat and the New Orleans Pelicans looked really impressive during their preseason games.
For the former, Tyler Herro has shown rapid development in certain facets of his game such as shooting and overall scoring. The young guard was allowed to showcase his skill to the fullest without Jimmy Butler in the lineup.
The Pelicans' defense has looked much stronger in the preseason, while key players in Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram have shown massive improvement in their overall game.
New Orleans Pelicans Preview
As mentioned before, the New Orleans Pelicans' defense looks far more solid now than it did last season, but the improvement doesn't stop there.
The franchise looks far more confident in possession of the ball, and the fluidity of the team's offense seems to have increased dramatically under new head coach Stan Van Gundy. Overall, New Orleans Pelicans fans have a lot to be excited about heading into the 2020-21 NBA regular season.
In terms of injuries, Wenyen Gabriel, Nicolo Melli, and Will Magnay are all day-to-day right now and are doubtful for this match.
Key Player - Zion Williamson
As countless experts say, Zion Williamson doesn't play basketball - he plays bully-ball. The player has immense strength and otherworldly quickness to go along with it. Due to the tools he has at his disposal and how he uses them, some of the best defenders have struggled to keep him away from the rim.
Williamson may not have much of a three-point shot, but how effective he is even when strictly sticking to the inside makes him a key player for the New Orleans Pelicans. And given that he is now healthier than ever before, you can expect the 20-year-old to wreak havoc when the game commences.
New Orleans Pelicans Predicted Lineup
G Lonzo Ball, G Josh Hart, F Brandon Ingram, F Zion Williamson, C Steven Adams
Miami Heat Preview
Not only has Tyler Herro looked impressive, but so has fellow guard Duncan Robinson. The sharpshooting duo took some time to find their feet in the preseason, but started to dominate as soon as they did.
In the few minutes he has received, rookie Precious Achiuwa has looked impressive as well.
The Miami Heat's injury list includes only Gabe Vincent, who is recovering from a knee injury and is doubtful for this clash.
Key Player - Jimmy Butler
After not participating in the Miami Heat's preseason games, Jimmy Butler is expected come back well rested for the franchise. The player was a pivotal part of the team's incredible run to the NBA finals last season, and is sure to have a similar effect this time around as well.
With the 31-year-old on the floor alongside Bam Adebayo, the Heat's strength on both ends increases dramatically. The best in the NBA struggle against this franchise, and it's not hard to see why.
Miami Heat Predicted Lineup
G Tyler Herro, G Jimmy Butler, F Duncan Robinson, F Maurice Harkless, C Bam Adebayo
New Orleans Pelicans vs Miami Heat Match Prediction
It is hard to tell if this will be a close game between the Miami Heat and the New Orleans Pelicans.
If the latter can hold up their defensive tenacity against an elite offensive team such as the Miami Heat, there could be an upset on the cards here. But it's difficult to ascertain how successful the Pelicans will be under a system they are not yet completely used to.
Whether it is a close game or not, the Miami Heat are surely the favorites to win here. Their experience and quality can be expected to ultimately triumph over that of the New Orleans Pelicans.
Where to watch New Orleans Pelicans vs Miami Heat?
In USA, the game will be broadcasted nationally on ESPN, and locally on the Fox Sports Network. International fans can stream the game live on NBA League Pass.
Published 24 Dec 2020, 11:49 IST