Video: Shorthanded Heat fall to Pelicans but at 17-16 are optimistic about season heading into holiday

MIAMI – The New Orleans Pelicans were not very nice to their hosts, the Miami Heat, as both teams played one last game before Christmas.

New Orleans took advantage of a weary Heat team and dominated the second half Saturday in a 109-94 victory, a game in which the Pelicans led by 24 with three minutes to play.

For the Heat, the two-day holiday break comes at a good time with several players returning, or close to coming back, from injury. Goran Dragic (sore left elbow) and James Johnson (right ankle bursitis) both played Saturday after missing three games each. Dragic logged 30 minutes but Johnson did not play in the second half after re-aggravating the injury early in the games.

Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem falls onto the court after being run into by New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins during the Pelicans win in Miami on Saturday. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)

Miami also hopes get back Hassan Whiteside (left knee bruise) and Justise Winslow (left knee strain) shortly. One player who it appears will need more time to recover is Dion Waiters, who sprained his problematic left ankle Friday. Rodney McGruder (stress fracture left leg) and Okaro White (broken left foot) also remained sidelined.

Still, the Heat feel good about being above .500 (17-16) and having won six of their last nine games. Anthony Chiang and I talked about how the Heat ran out of gas in the second half Saturday along with the bigger picture on our Facebook Live Video, which can be found on the Post on Miami Heat page. Give it a follow if you aren’t already.

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