Heat Wins 111-98 Over The Pelicans Despite Jimmy Butler’s Absence

Jimmy Butler during an NBA All-Star Game in 2017. Photo by Stephen Lew/CSM/REX/Shutterstock

The Miami Heat got their first win of the season on Friday, beating the New Orleans Pelicans 111-98 in their highly-anticipated Christmas Day matchup. And they managed to do so even with their superstar Jimmy Butler not playing down the stretch because of ankle issues.

Butler rolled his ankle in Wednesday’s loss to the Orlando Magic but felt he was ready to play against the Pelicans, and ended up starting the game. The 31-year-old veteran, however, ended up spending just 16 minutes on the court in the first half before being shut down. He scored four points and added six rebounds and five assists up to that point.

Despite being without their biggest star, Miami managed to get the job done thanks to Duncan Robinson’s great shooting night. Robinson made seven three-pointers out of 13 attempts, leading the Heat with 23 points. He also added five rebounds.

Robinson had help in All-Star center Bam Adebayo, who had 17 points and four boards while being a dominant defensive presence. Veteran point guard Goran Dragic also did his part, scoring 18 points and dishing nine assists off the bench.

New Orleans was led by young stars Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, who combined for more than half of the team’s total points. Williamson scored 32 points and had 14 rebounds, while Ingram had 28 points and three assists.

The Heat, who are now 1-1, will play their next game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday. The Pelicans play the Spurs on Sunday.