Duncan Robinson’s Historic Half Propelled The Heat To A Christmas Win Over The Pelicans

The opening game of the Christmas Day slate didn’t give us any particular rivalry that we’d been looking forward to revisiting, but it did give us a chance to see how the upstart New Orleans Pelicans might fare against one of the NBA’s elite in a Miami Heat squad fresh off a Finals run.

It didn’t disappoint, and although the young Pelicans came up short in a 111-98 loss, it offered plenty of reason for optimism about the future in New Orleans. On the Heat side, it was Duncan Robinson’s blistering shooting that led the way, as he knocked a Christmas day record six three-pointers in the first half en route to a team-high 23 points for the game.

The Heat were without Jimmy Butler for the second, as he was held out the rest of the way with ankle stiffness, but both Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic stepped up big in his absence, chipping in 17 and 16 points, respectively. Dragic did his damage off the bench in just 23 minutes of action, dishing out nine assists and reminding us just how crafty he can be in transition with this beautiful behind-the-back move for he easy lay-in.

The Pelicans young duo of Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson led a noble effort by New Orleans as they gave us a tantalizing look at what we can expect from them in the coming season. Zion led the way with 32 points and 14 rebounds on better than 50 percent shooting from the field and proved what a force of nature he can be at the rim.

Ingram added 28 points and shot 4-of-8 from downtown, in the process showing off his ever-expanding offensive versatility with some difficult finishes around the basket.

Both teams gave us a nice little preview of what could be in store this season, with the Heat bouncing back off of an opening night loss to the Magic to regain some of their rhythm and the Pelicans having to feel encouraged by their young star duo as they look to settle in to Stan Van Gundy’s defensive system.