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Heat favored big hosting Pelicans on Tuesday
By: Zach Cohen - StatFox
Published: 1/7/2014  at  6:21:00 AM
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NEW ORLEANS PELICANS (15-17)

at MIAMI HEAT (26-8)

Tip-off: Tuesday, 7:35 p.m. ET
Line: Miami -9, Total: 204

The Heat will be playing for their third straight victory when they host the Pelicans on Tuesday night.

Miami followed up a 110-94 road victory over the Magic on Saturday with a 102-97 win over the surging Raptors at home to improve to 10-2 SU (4-8 ATS) in its past 12 games. New Orleans, on the other hand, dropped its last game 99-82 at Indiana on Saturday to fall to 4-7 SU (4-6-1 ATS) in its past 11 contests. The last time these teams met was in March of 2013 where the Heat won 108-89 on the road, marking their fourth straight win (3-0-1 ATS) in this series. However, the Pelicans still own a decisive 36-16 ATS (69%) advantage versus Miami since 1996. Over the past two seasons, New Orleans is 11-2 ATS (85%) after scoring 85 points or less in their previous game, but Miami is 22-11 ATS (67%) in this same time frame after failing to cover the spread in three of their last four games. C Jason Smith (shoulder) is expected to miss the game for the Pelicans, while PF Ryan Anderson (back) is out indefinitely. SF Shane Battier (quad) is probably for the Heat while PG Mario Chalmers (Achilles) is considered questionable for Tuesday.

Can the Pelicans keep the score close against the mighty Heat? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The five experts are sizzling on NBA Best Bets since the start of December, going 62% ATS (76-47-1) including 66% ATS (50-26-1) since Dec. 16. StatFox Dave has an excellent 73% ATS (19-7) Best Bets record since Dec. 1 and is 58% ATS (29-21) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Zach has a huge 71% ATS mark (17-7-1) since Dec. 1 and is currently 57% ATS (28-21-1) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Scott is 67% ATS (10-5) in Best Bets since Dec. 16, while StatFox Gary is also 67% ATS (10-5) in this same timeframe. Since Dec. 12, StatFox Brian is 65% ATS (11-6).

The Pelicans are averaging a solid 102.3 PPG (12th in NBA), 43.5 RPG (12th in league) and 22.7 APG (11th in NBA), but were completely taken out of their game in a 17-point loss to Indiana on Saturday, and they will look to get back on track against Miami. PF Anthony Davis (19.0 PPG, 10.1 RPG) who had just 10 points in Saturday's loss will go head-to-head with Miami's Chris Bosh and he will need to use his great defense (3.2 BPG, 1.4 SPG) to disrupt the Miami big man. SG Eric Gordon (15.4 PPG, 3.0 APG) must score the basketball well, as he will be going head-to-head with Dwyane Wade. Gordon had 21 points (9-of-16 FG, 3-of-5 threes) in the loss to Indiana, which was a huge improvement from the 12.0 PPG on 42% FG in the prior two contests. PG Jrue Holiday (14.8 PPG, 8.1 APG) will have an extremely favorable matchup at the point guard position as he squares off with a banged-up Mario Chalmers or backup Norris Cole. Holiday has just 6.0 PPG and 6.0 APG in his past two games, but he should get closer to his seasonal averages in the favorable against Miami. Monty Williams will need a big game from his point guard in this one as SG Tyreke Evans (13.3 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 4.4 APG), who has 16.0 PPG over the past five contests, will be likely be guarded by LeBron James.

The Heat's offense has been outstanding all season with 104.8 PPG (5th in NBA) on a league-best 51.1% shooting and 38.4% threes (4th in NBA). They have eclipsed 100 points in 10 of their past 12 games, averaging 108.8 PPG on 52.3% FG and 38.0% threes during this 10-2 SU stretch. PF Chris Bosh (16.0 PPG, 6.5 RPG) has really stepped it up as of late, averaging 20.2 PPG and 7.4 RPG over the past five contests. He will need to use his size and strength to make it difficult on an undersized Pelicans frontcourt. SF LeBron James (25.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 6.6 APG, 1.3 SPG) came up huge in the win over Toronto with 30 points, five assists and four rebounds in 38 minutes. He will need to defend Tyreke Evans, and be just as good defensively as he is offensively. SG Dwyane Wade (19.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 4.8 APG), who had 14 points and nine rebounds in Sunday's win, must defend Eric Gordon and get in the passing lanes to force turnovers. With PG Mario Chalmers (9.3 PPG, 5.1 APG) banged up, PG Norris Cole (7.1 PPG, 3.1 APG) could have a huge role in this game. Cole played 30 minutes against Toronto and finished with seven points, three rebounds and a minus-7 rating. He will need to be better than that going against a talented point guard in Jrue Holiday.

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