McCollum scores 30 as Pelicans add to Heat’s home woes with 111-88 win

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MIAMI — The New Orleans Pelicans had quite a rebuttal.

CJ McCollum scored 30 points, Jose Alvarado added 17 and the Pelicans had no trouble in a 111-88 win over Miami on Friday night — the first meeting between the teams since four players got ejected when the teams played in New Orleans last month, a night capped by Jimmy Butler saying the Heat would win the rematch, too.

“It backfired on them today,” Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado said.

It was McCollum’s fifth 30-point game of the season and his second in the last week. Trey Murphy III scored 14 points and Naji Marshall had 13 for New Orleans, which only got four points in 25 minutes from Zion Williamson and rolled anyway.

Butler scored 17 points for the Heat, who fell four games behind Orlando in the Southeast Division race and missed a potential opportunity to climb out of play-in tournament range. Terry Rozier scored 13 and Bam Adebayo finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds for Miami — which was 13 for 47 from 3-point range.

“They were packing the paint and staying in the zone,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “And I would have, too.”

The Pelicans were without Brandon Ingram, who will miss at least two weeks with a bone bruise in his left knee. He was hurt in Thursday’s loss at Orlando, but the Pelicans say he’ll be re-evaluated early next month — which would mean before the end of the regular season.

“We’re going to miss him, 20 points per game, he’s leading our team in assists, so we’re definitely going to miss him,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “But we’re grateful that it wasn’t more than what it was. … We’re going to miss him. The next guys just have to step up.”

Miami was again without Tyler Herro (foot), Duncan Robinson (back) and Kevin Love (heel). And when the Heat can’t score, they can’t win — they’re now 2-15 when they score 100 points or less, as compared to 36-17 when scoring at least 101.

The Heat have lost 10 of their last 17 home games. A team that entered Friday with the ninth-best road record this season at 21-16 is now just 17-16 at home, the 19th-best mark in the league when the game ended.

“We just have not been good enough. We all know that. We’re aware of it,” Spoelstra said.

It was the first meeting between the teams since Feb. 23, when the teams scuffled and four players — Butler and Thomas Bryant for the Heat; Alvarado and Marshall for the Pelicans — were ejected from what became a 106-95 Miami win. Afterward, Butler said, “We’ll beat them the next time, too.”

The Pelicans evidently remembered.

“We’re just a better team,” the Pelicans posted on social media postgame.

Butler opened the second half with a three-point play that got Miami within one, and the Pelicans immediately responded with an 11-0 run to keep control. New Orleans was down 18-7 early and then settled into a groove, trailing only once in the final 36 minutes — and that was a mere 22-second stint early in the second quarter.

UP NEXT

Pelicans: Visit Detroit on Sunday.

Heat: Host Cleveland on Sunday night.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA

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