Leave it to the Miami Heat to turn a preseason game with the New Orleans Pelicans into must-see TV.
Not only did the Heat put on a show in their 108-95 win, but they also stunned viewers when they substituted Greg Oden in at the 5:15 mark of the second quarter. It was his first appearance in an NBA game since December 5th, 2009, so naturally the Heat were compelled to boost his confidence immediately.
The first play Oden was involved in resulted in gaining a post-up over a smaller defender, backing them down, pump faking, and throwing down his first bucket in nearly four years.
It was the only shot of the night for Oden, who also took two free throws (missing both of them), grabbed two rebounds and played the role of post deterrent with surprising efficiency for a 7-footer who hasn’t played since the pre-Big Three era of Miami.
While Oden will draw the headlines for his appearance, the Heat as a whole were wildly active on both ends of the floor, forcing 23 turnovers and scoring 50 points in the paint.
They were led by LeBron James’ 27 points on 10-of-17 shooting, while Dwyane Wade scored 25 points taking and making the same amount of attempts as his four-time MVP teammate.
Chris Bosh filled up the statsheet with 14 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Chris Andersen was the only other Heat player to score in double-figures, making all five of his field-goal attempts and hitting all three of his free throws to finish with 13 points.
Although the score indicates a typical Heat blowout, it wasn’t until the fourth quarter where Miami actually gained the lead and took over for good. At one point in the first quarter they were down by 15 points as New Orleans racked up 34 points in the first eight minutes of the game.
The Hornets couldn’t sustain their hot shooting for too long after scoring only 12 of their first 63 points from inside of the paint. After starting off 7-of-10 from beyond the arc, the Hornets finished off the game shooting 4-of-15.
New Orleans was led by Eric Gordon’s 19 points on 12 shots. Anthony Davis scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Once the shots stopped falling for the Pelicans, it was time for the Heat to drop in a few bombs of their own, led by Ray Allen’s nine points in the fourth quarter. He hit three consecutive three-pointers early in the fourth to spark an 18-2 run to start the fourth quarter.
Miami wound up outscoring New Orleans 31-13 in the final frame and finished the night making half of their 20 three-point attempts. Allen and James each had three to finish the night a combined 6-of-9 from beyond the arc.