New Orleans Pelicans vs Miami Heat NBA Pick – December 25

The NBA season is back as each team has a game under their belt. Christmas Day is packed with another great slate of action. Five games will be up on the board throughout Friday. One of these games will be between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Miami Heat. These two teams will look to kick off the day with a great game. This matchup will tip off at around 12:00 PM Eastern time on ESPN.

New Orleans has started off this season with a record of 1-0. The Pelicans finished out last season with a record of 30-42, which had them in thirteenth place of the Western Conference. New Orleans will look to build off their opening night win as they progress in this season. The Pelicans team will look to come out strong again in this one as they face off against Miami.

The Heat took a tough loss on opening night. Miami went 44-29 throughout last season, which put them in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. The Heat had an incredible playoff run, which saw them reach the NBA Finals. Miami will look to put up another great season as they try to build upon last seasons run. The Heat will look to get back in the win column with a victory on Christmas Day.

These two teams had opposite results on opening night, but I expect them to get their feet underneath themselves more as we enter the early stretch of the season. Miami was the best team in the Eastern Conference a season ago, while the Pelicans had a tough season. New Orleans will look to leap back into Western Conference contention with a strong start to this season.

Previous Matchups

New Orleans and Miami met up twice throughout last season. The Heat hosted the first game of the season series on November 16. Nickeil Alexander-Walker dropped 27 points off the bench, while E’Twaun Moore put up 18 points. Kendrick Nunn scored 22 points for the Heat. Bam Adebayo had 18 points and 13 rebounds, while Jimmy Butler finished with 16 points and 13 assists. Miami earned a 109-94 win at home.

The second game of the season series was on March 6 in New Orleans. Jimmy Butler scored 28 points, while Duncan Robinson put up 24 points. It was not enough for the Heat though. Jrue Holiday scored 20 points and Josh Hart scored 19 points off the bench. Zion Williamson added another 17 points to help lead the Pelicans to a 110-104 win.

These two teams met up twice throughout last season, with each team winning their home game. The Heat finished out with the better record, but as New Orleans got healthy late in the season, they were able to bounce back with a big win. The Pelicans were able to switch things up in this offseason and now are looking to put up another big win. I expect Miami to come out faster though after losing their first game.

Top Performers

Brandon Ingram and J.J. Redick both put up strong performances in the season opener. Ingram dropped 24 points and 11 assists, while Redick scored 23 points. Eric Bledsoe scored 18 points on the night. Lonzo Ball added 16 points, while Zion Williamson finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds to help lead the Pelicans to their opening night win.

The Heat saw Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic put up strong performances in the opening game of the season. Adebayo finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds and Dragic earned 20 points and 7 assists. Jimmy Butler dropped 19 points, 7 assists and 7 steals. Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro put up 14 points and 13 points as well in the loss.

These two teams saw their starters step up on opening night of the season. Miami was able to make their run last season off of good defense. Butler had a great opening night performance on defense and will look to build off of that in this one. The Pelicans will look to get their offense in groove early in this one to try and knock off the Heat on Friday afternoon.

Field Goal Shooting Last Season

New Orleans was a solid shooting team throughout last season, but struggled on the defensive end. The Pelicans were able to make around 46.5 percent of their shots from the field, which was 13th in the NBA. New Orleans made around 37 percent of their shots behind the arc, which was 7th in the league. The Pelicans also made 52.8 percent of their shots from inside the arc, which was 12th in the NBA.

The Heat were a great shooting team in the NBA last season as well. Miami shot around 46.8 percent of their shots from the field, which was 10th in the league. The Heat also made 37.9 percent of their shots from deep, which was 2nd in the NBA. Miami finished with a 53.2 percent shooting percentage in close, which was 8th in the league.

Miami was the better shooting team last season and had the better defensive stats over the Pelicans. New Orleans made 52.5 percent of their shots from the field in their last game, while the Heat made 50.6 percent of their shots. The Pelicans had good defense in their first game, which they will look to keep up against Miami. New Orleans will need to also break through on the Heat, who are coming for revenge after losing against the Magic.

Pick Overview

The Heat are coming off a loss in their first game of the season, which I think they will look to bounce back from in this one. New Orleans is looking to build some momentum off their first win, but I believe they will have a difficult time against Miami. The Heat’s defense can slow down the Pelicans offense and if Miami can shoot well again early, it could help propel them to a big win.

BetOnline has the Heat listed as a -4 ½ against the spread for Christmas Day. This gives a solid edge to Miami at home in this one. The Heat are a strong team and I think they will be able to cover this spread. Miami will look to get back in rhythm after a disappointing opening night performance. If the Heat can come out faster in this one, I really like them against the spread on Friday.

Miami Heat -4.5
Andruw Burling / Author

Andruw Burling has been writing sports picks since 2017, covering mainly NHL and NBA content, but doing work in other sports as well. Andruw grew up in Las Vegas and has been around sports since a young age. He grew up a huge NHL and NBA fan and continues to use that knowledge in his content today.