Miami Heat catch huge break ahead of anticipated rematch vs. New Orleans Pelicans

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Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat have a matchup against a hot New Orleans Pelicans team slated for Friday, but the Pelicans will be without arguably their most talented offensive player in Brandon Ingram, who is dealing with a bone contusion in his left knee.

Fans surely remember that the two teams got into a heated altercation the last time they faced off, which was on Feb. 23. Three Heat players (Jimmy Butler, Thomas Bryant and Nikola Jovic) wound up getting suspended. Perhaps tempers will flare once again on Friday.

Ingram has logged 63 appearances for the Pelicans thus far in the 2023-24 regular season and is averaging 20.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game on 49.0 percent shooting from the floor and 35.6 percent from deep.

He is leading the team in assists per game and ranks second in points per game, behind only Zion Williamson, who is averaging a team-high 22.7 points per contest.

Ingram suffered his knee injury in the Pelicans’ loss to the Orlando Magic on March 21. Before he was helped off the court, he dropped 14 points, four rebounds, three assists and one steal while shooting 7-of-12 from the field and 0-of-1 from 3-point range.

The Pelicans have won seven of their past 10 contests and sit as the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference with a record of 42-27. They are just a game and a half behind the Los Angeles Clippers — who own just a 5-5 record over the same span — for the conference’s No. 4 seed.

Conversely, the Heat are the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference at the moment and have played inconsistent basketball of late. Over the team’s last eight games, Miami owns a record of 3-5, with losses coming against the Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Washington Wizards, Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers.

Perhaps Miami’s most embarrassing of those five losses was to the Wizards on March 10. At 12-58, the Wizards have the worst record in the Eastern Conference and entire NBA. However, they are fresh off a win over the Sacramento Kings on Thursday.

Considering Ingram will be sidelined for New Orleans, Heat fans should feel optimistic about the team’s chances of picking up a victory over the Pelicans on Friday.

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Jesse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA.