Heat rookie forward James Ennis led all Heat scorers with 17 points, but a three-point barrage by the Pelicans ultimately buried the Heat, as they fell 98-86 in the preseason opener for both teams.
Technically a home game for the Heat, the game was played at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky, in front of a sellout crowd.
Heat center Chris Bosh was featured early and often as the new focal point of the Heat offense, finishing with nine points and six rebounds. Among the starters, Dwyane Wade contributed six points and Luol Deng added four.
James Ennis also grabbed six rebounds on the night, which was tied for the team lead with Bosh. Reserve forwards Danny Granger and Shawne Williams scored 12 points each, and guard Norris Cole chipped in 10.
The Heat were leading after the first quarter, but the Pelicans broke away on a 20-5 run that included 5 three-pointers before halftime, leaving the Heat down by double digits. It was a deficit that the Heat could not recover from. Reserve guard Jimmer Fredette led the Pelicans with 17 points, and the Pelicans made 14 three-pointers on the night.
Six players did not suit up for the Heat on Saturday night, including starting forward Josh McRoberts, and reserve centers Chris “Birdman” Andersen and Justin Hamilton. McRoberts is recovering from toe surgery, Andersen is dealing with a lingering calf injury, while Hamilton is still sidelined from a heart procedure.
The Heat will take the court again on Tuesday night back at the American Airlines Arena against the Orlando Magic.