National Post (National Edition)
Heat survive rally by Zion's Pelicans
The Miami Heat, who lost star Jimmy Butler due to injury in the first half, held on to beat the visiting New Orleans Pelicans 111-98 on Friday afternoon.
New Orleans' Zion Williamson, making his Christmas Day debut, produced his second double-double in two games this season with 32 points and 14 rebounds, both game highs. Brandon Ingram added 28 points.
Miami was led by Duncan Robinson, who had 23 points and made seven of 13 three-pointers. Bam Adebayo had 17 points, and Goran Dragic added 18 points and a game-high nine assists off the bench.
Butler, who had stiffness in his right ankle, had six rebounds, five assists and four points in 16 minutes. The Heat made it to the NBA Finals last season, but they were just 6-9 without Butler.
Miami also made a change in its starting lineup, benching Maurice Harkless and elevating Meyers Leonard, who scored nine points on 3-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc. Harkless didn't score.
Avery Bradley, who won an NBA title last season with the Lakers, made his Heat debut and scored 12 points. Bradley, who signed as a free agent last month, also hounded New Orleans' JJ Redick, holding him to eight points on 1-for-7 shooting.
Miami, which made just seven 3-pointers in its opener, had seven in the first quarter alone, taking a 29-26 lead.
New Orleans, which led by as many as eight points in that first quarter, gave up a 14-4 run and managed to stay in it by going 8-for-8 from the foul line.
Miami led by as many as 23 points in the second quarter, but New Orleans closed with a 15-5 run, cutting the Heat's advantage to 66-53 at the break.
New Orleans cut its deficit to 88-79 after Ingram hit a 3-pointer on the final play of the third quarter. Through three quarters, however, Miami had doubled the number of New Orleans' treys (14-7).
The Pelicans pulled as close as six points with 7:43 left in the fourth quarter, but the Heat held on by shooting 50.7 per cent from the floor for the game, including 16 of 37 from downtown.
BUCKS ROLL PAST STRUGGLING WARRIORS
Khris Middleton scored a game-high 31 points and the Milwaukee Bucks used brilliant shooting from 3-point range to gradually pull away from the visiting Golden State Warriors for a 138-99 blowout win on Friday afternoon.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was held to 15 points on 4-for-14 shooting, but Middleton and four other teammates scored in double figures as the Bucks quickly erased the bad taste of a lastsecond loss at Boston with their first win of the season.
Stephen Curry had a team-high 19 points and rookie James Wiseman notched 18 for the Warriors, who have been outscored by a combined 65 points in their first two games.
Middleton made six of eight from distance, including two straight in a 19-7 Bucks burst in the third period that turned a competitive 72-64 game into a 91-71 laugher.
Donte DiVincenzo and D.J. Augustin each contributed 13-point performances, while D.J. Wilson also hit three treys to account for all nine of his points for the Bucks, the NBA's winningest team in the regular season last year.
Jrue Holiday totalled 12 points and a team-high six assists, while Bobby Portis logged a 10-point, 12-rebound double-double for Milwaukee, which shot 54.9 per cent overall and 20-for37 (54.1 per cent) from beyond the arc.
Andrew Wiggins ( 12 points), Brad Wanamaker (11) and Jordan Poole (11) also scored in double figures for the Warriors, who shot just 34.3 per cent overall and 10-for-45 (22.2 per cent) on 3-pointers.