MIAMI -- Kendrick Nunn scored 22 points and the Miami Heat remained unbeaten at home with a 109-94 victory over the undermanned New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night.
Bam Adebayo had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Jimmy Butler added 16 points, 13 assists and eight rebound. Miami is 5-0 at home and 9-3 overall — tying the best 12-game start in team history.
Duncan Robinson scored 15 points, Kelly Olynyk had 13 and Tyler Herro 12 for the Heat — who committed a franchise-record-low six fouls.
Nickell Alexander-Walker made six 3-pointers and had 27 points for New Orleans, while E’Twaun Moore scored 18 and Jrue Holiday scored 14 for the Pelicans.
New Orleans came into the game with big injury problems — and left with bigger ones.
No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson, along with JJ Redick, Jahlil Okafor, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Darius Miller all were unavailable for the game with various injuries. And by the time the first quarter was over, starters Frank Jackson and Derrick Favors were done for the night as well.
Jackson left with pain on the left side of his neck after colliding with Miami’s Meyers Leonard. Favors departed with back spasms. And that left the Pelicans with eight players for the game’s final 40 minutes.
They hung tough, but the Heat eventually pulled away.
Herro had a dunk late in the third to push Miami’s lead to 10. And on the next possession, with time running down in the quarter, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra sent Olynyk to double Holiday — forcing the ball from his hands. Miami wound up getting a turnover, Herro pushed the ball to Nunn, and he kicked it out to Duncan Robinson for a 3-point try at the buzzer.
It swished, and Miami’s lead was 78-65 going into the fourth.
Pelicans: The injuries are a huge reason for this, but the loss means New Orleans (3-9) matched the fourth-worst 12-game start in franchise history. They were 1-11 in 2004-05, 1-11 in 2015-16 and 2-10 in 2016-17. ... New Orleans was outrebounded 46-31.
Heat: Miami’s previous record for fouls in a game was nine, done twice. Miami committed only one foul in the first half, a franchise low for any half and the first one-foul half in the NBA since Houston had one in the first 24 minutes against Chicago on March 27, 2018. The previous Heat low for fouls in a half was two, done on five occasions. ... The Heat played without Justise Winslow (concussion), Goran Dragic (illness), KZ Okpala (Achilles), Dion Waiters (suspended) and Derrick Jones Jr. (left hip).
There was a Duke alumni event for fans at the game Saturday night. They just didn’t get to see one on the court. With Jackson’s injury, it meant all six players from Duke on the rosters were done for the night. Williamson, Redick, Okafor, Ingram and Jackson are the Blue Devils on New Orleans’ roster, and Miami has Winslow.
Miami leads the series with the Pelicans 23-22 — including playoffs. The regular-season series is tied 19-19.
Pelicans: Host Golden State on Saturday. Including playoffs, New Orleans has lost 32 of its last 35 games against the Warriors.
Heat: Host Cleveland on Wednesday. Miami has three full off days between games, which won't occur again until Christmas week.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports