Miami Heat eke out a close one on the road against Pelicans

After a 4-1 homestand, the Miami Heat head down on the Bayou to face the Pelicans. What does NBA 2K have to say about Miami’s first-ever dose of Zion?

The Miami Heat are coming off of a four-game win streak, albeit completely at home. Here they get to test their roster’s endurance against one of the most highly powered rosters in the league in the New Orleans Pelicans. This isn’t to say that Miami can’t go offensively nuclear on their own when their shooting gets going, but the Pelicans have their own personal Little Boy (think WW2) and without further ado.

Zion Williamson has only played 17 games, but in that time, the Pelicans are 9-8. This team has been trending upwards since his debut and they’re currently jousting in an attempt to land in the playoffs as an eighth seed. They’re currently in 12th place but only 1.5 games back of the 9th seed, so they need every win they can get.

This should be a fun game to watch just for the contrast in play styles and the enigma that is Zion Williamson. He’s on his way to stealing rookie of the year votes from Ja Morant while feasting on opponents at the rim. The Pelicans play with the fourth highest pace in the NBA while the Miami Heat hang their hats on the defensive end and deliberate offense, which has them ranked fifth-lowest in the league in that same metric.

According to Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel, Meyers Leonard and Tyler Herro did not make the trip to New Orleans, so it’s safe to say they’re out for both Friday’s matchup against the Pelicans as well as Sunday evening’s tilt with the Wizards.

Every matchup is recorded for authenticity and uploaded to YouTube, so if you want to see the simulation for yourself, the latest upload to my channel will have the footage uninterrupted. There you’ll be able to see the adjustments I made to the rotation of each team and the players overall.

Starting Lineup

Miami Heat

Point guard, Kendrick Nunn

Shooting guard, Duncan Robinson

Small forward, Jimmy Butler

Power forward, Derrick Jones Jr.

Center, Bam Adebayo

New Orleans Pelicans

Point Guard, Lonzo Ball

Shooting guard, Jrue Holiday

Small forward, Brandon Ingram

Power forward, Zion Williamson

Center, Derrick Favors

Outcome

Miami Heat 103, New Orleans Pelicans 100

Once again, the Miami Heat came out guns blazing to start the matchup on a 10-2 run, but it wasn’t long until the Pelicans came rushing back. From here on out, the matchup remained close with no team gaining more than an eight-point lead the entire night. New Orleans closed out the Miami Heat in the first quarter leading 27-23.

The second quarter was no different than the first. We had a slugfest on our hands and I could feel the sim slowing down between each possession.

The Heat won the second frame by a single point but still trailed by three. The closeness of the contest even showed up in the box score as each team shot almost identical percentages from the field and had very similar 3-point attempts.

What was interesting to see was up to this point, the Pelicans only had six fast-break points. I’m sure Head Coach Alvin Gentry was not pleased that the Miami Heat were holding them in transition and slowing the game down. I could see Dwyane Wade in the popular social media gif saying “I love it” as I type this.

The Miami Heat escaped the third quarter with a frame win but only leading the pelicans by one point. It was time to put up or shut up for this Miami Heat team that seems to fall short on the road.

Why not prove the doubters wrong on national television? After the slowest simulation of a quarter ever, the teams shared four lead changes and three ties.

What happened next is Miami Heat basketball to a tee. With 45 seconds left in regulation and the score knotted up at 100 apiece, Derrick Favors sent Jimmy Butler to the free-throw line for two shots.

He, of course, misses the first one and makes the second to give the Miami Heat only a one-point lead. Thankfully the Miami Heat were able to dig deep, forcing Favors and Holiday to miss consecutive go-ahead jump-shots.

Goran Dragić managed to fit in some window dressing as he ran down the court and laid the ball up at the buzzer. Without that score, the Miami Heat only really win by one point. Regardless of how it went, I’ll take it!

Player stats

Miami Heat

Duncan Robinson – 24 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block

Bam Adebayo – 23 points, 19 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 4 blocks

Jimmy Butler – 19 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal

Kendrick Nunn – 12 points, 1 rebound, 4 assists

Goran Dragić – 11 points (4-of 13 shooting), 2 rebounds, 3 assists

New Orleans Pelicans

Zion Williamson – 33 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block (three 3-pointers made)

Brandon Ingram – 20 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 1 block

E’Twaun Moore – 9 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist

Jrue Holiday – 8 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists

Josh Hart – 8 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals

Honorable mention: Lonzo Ball 3, points, 3 rebounds, 11 assists

The Miami Heat did exactly what they had to do to win this game. Sure we would’ve liked a little bit of a wider margin, but a win is a win.

All you have to do is win more quarters than your opponent and you walk away victorious, which is exactly what the Miami Heat did in today’s sim. We’ve all questioned NBA 2K in our lives at some point if you are at least a little bit familiar with the series, but today’s sim has to give the franchise some street cred as it got everything right, even down to the last few possessions. Next up, another showdown with the Wizards.