[via NOP]

Pelicans Break Losing Streak vs The Miami Heat in Vengeful Friday Night Win

14:00 March 24, 2024
By: Kaitlin Lowe

Pels Friday Night Win

The ending of the Pelicans vs the Miami Heat game last month in the Smoothie King Center set tensions ablaze, and the fire was further fueled in the media following. The tension between both teams and fan bases made the March 22 game in Miami one to watch, with playoff spots—and egos—on the line.

What You Missed

During the February 23rd matchup, a pivotal moment in a close game came early in the fourth quarter when Zion Williamson took a hard fall from a layup, seemingly without a foul being called. Kevin Love of the Heat appeared to intervene to prevent Williamson from hitting the ground, as later described by Coach Spoelstra, Jimmy Butler, and Williamson himself. However, things quickly spiraled into a physical altercation between Naji Marshall and Jimmy Butler. Butler's aggressive response, which included shoving Marshall and grabbing his neck, sparked a chain reaction involving multiple players from both teams.

As security intervened to restore order, another altercation erupted between Jose Alvarado and Thomas Bryant, further fueling the intensity of the game. The involvement of fans, including one who threw a cup at Bryant, added to the chaotic atmosphere within the Smoothie King Center. The aftermath of the altercations saw ejections for Jose Alvarado, Naji Marshall, Jimmy Butler, and Thomas Bryant, leaving both teams short-handed for the remainder of the game. Further, they were fined by the NBA and suspended from the league.

Despite the Pelicans' key players missing in action during the fourth quarter, the Heat capitalized on the opportunity leading them to victory. The Pelicans' scoring dwindled significantly in the final minutes, resulting in their seventh consecutive loss against the Heat.

"First of all, I don't think I should have been ejected from the game," said Butler. "But New Orleans got lucky. I would've given it to them during the fourth quarter," following the game."

Known to react well when provoked, Where Y'at asked Butler if he'd carry this sense of tension into the next game against the Pelicans. Butler boldly responded, "Sure, we'll beat them the next time, too. We're just the better team. I'm not going to say that they're not a good team, but I don't think this really matters. I think that when we get them on our home court it's going to be a different game. I hope that they're healthy. It's going to be the same outcome."

[via Bally Sports]

Revenge in the Rematch

After the Heat's win against the Cavaliers this past Wednesday, Butler was asked if he was ready to own up to the statement.

"Of course. We finna get a dub. We're on our home floor anyways, it'll be fine," said Butler.

Butler was further asked if he was purely concerned with the issue at hand or if he would hold on to the memory of the Heat and Pelicans clash. "I mean, there is a freakin' memory," responded Butler, "I got fined a lot of money. That's my memory. I don't give a damn about tensions flaring, but I got kids, man."

On Thursday night's game vs The Orlando Magic, Brandon Ingram hit a fall that concerned fans about an ACL tear, yet it is a contusion in which he will be reevaluated for in two weeks. That said, he was ruled out for the game.

The game started off tough for the Pelicans with a 12-2 score in the opening minutes. Further, the Pelicans could see within minutes that Zion Willamson was not feeling it as the star player didn't knock down even one point in the first half, and only 4 points throughout the entire game—a new season low.

That said, CJ McCollum and the Pelicans' bench, coupled with the defensive prowess of Herb Jones, undoubtedly made this game. McCollum put up an astounding 30 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists.

While McCollum may have dominated this game statistically, Jose Alvarado and Naji Marshall got their revenge, loud and proud.

Alvarado scored a season high 17 points, with four three-points made, with Marshall putting up 13 points and seven rebounds. McCollum further relayed that Coach Green challenged Alvarado and Naji Marshall in the locker room prior to the game, knowing all eyes would be on them.

[via NOP]

We are happy these two delivered—as we all know, revenge is a dish best served cold. The game ended in a 23 point victory for the Pelicans. What may have made just as many headlines as the game itself is post game comments of both teams.

Following the game, in a now deleted tweet, Marshall put up the clip of Where Y'at's conversation with Butler, where he declared they'd win this game with the caption, "My Volume don't work what he say?????"

The Pelicans social media also had a fun time getting revenge, posting their game winning pic with the caption, "We're just the better team." This was one of many trolls by the Pels social media admin, including changing their bio to "keeping receipts."

Regarding Butler's quote from the last game, Coach Green said, "It was a little extra. They said some things in the media, we heard it. And our guys wanted to respond—that's what makes this fun."

When told about the Pelicans' trolls online and asked about his prior comments, Butler told reporters, "I hope it added fuel to the fire. They came in here and stole one. We should've won, but you can't win 'em all. We'll be alright. But I'm gonna stick by what I said—we're still the better team."

Regardless of how you look at it, the Pelicans got the last laugh with the Heat this year and, well, finally beat the heat. And with that, Pelicans fans look forward to a reevaluation of Ingram's injury and finishing out a strong season.

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