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Pelicans-Heat Preview

AP - Sports

The Miami Heat continue to save some of their best basketball for the second half of games.

That could prove to be a problem for the New Orleans Pelicans, who are struggling to close out games and will be without one of their top players.

Miami looks to win a fifth straight in the series Tuesday night when it hosts New Orleans.

The Heat (26-8) have won 10 of their last 12. They trailed by five entering the fourth quarter of Sunday's 102-97 victory over Toronto and were behind at halftime in three of their previous five wins.

Miami, which improved to 15-3 at home, leads the league with a 50.2 second-half field-goal percentage and averages 52.0 points over the final two quarters.

"Just find a way to win," said LeBron James, who scored 30 points. "Every game is different. One game is different from the next and you just find a way to win when you can."

With Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh turning in lackluster performances - they scored a combined 21 points on 7-of-22 shooting - Michael Beasley provided a lift with 17 points off the bench. Beasley's 11.1 points per game lead all players averaging fewer than 20 minutes per contest. He's shooting 56.4 percent over his last five games, though he's hitting just 31.9 percent of his shots in his last five versus New Orleans.

The Pelicans (15-17) are just 6-12 away from home, including seven losses in their last nine. They've also lost nine of their last 11 trips to Miami.

New Orleans was outscored 55-33 in the second half of Saturday's 99-82 defeat at Indiana, the 10th time the club has been outscored over the final two periods during a 6-9 stretch. The Pelicans shot 35.7 percent from the field in the second half against the Pacers after recording a 52.5 percent clip in the first 24 minutes.

Eric Gordon's performance served as a microcosm of the team's offense. He scored 17 in the first half on 7-of-11 shooting, then tallied just four points in the second with four turnovers.

The Pelicans seemingly collapsed during a 14-0 Pacers run in the third quarter, getting charged with three technical fouls.

"We just didn't play that well," coach Monty Williams said. "We just got out of sync on the offensive end, and that led to them getting a number of offensive opportunities. They just picked up, and we did not."

Not helping matters was the absence of Ryan Anderson - who is averaging 19.7 points - as he remained in a Boston hospital. The team announced Tuesday he will be sidelined indefinitely with a herniated disk suffered in Friday's win over the Celtics.

Shane Battier was inactive for Miami against the Raptors due to a strained left quad but is listed as a probable starter for Tuesday. Mario Chalmers didn't play in the second half due to right Achilles' tendinitis but coach Erik Spoelstra called it only a precautionary measure.

Miami's four straight wins in the series have come by an average of 15.3 points with 54.5 percent shooting. Wade is averaging 26.7 points while shooting 52.7 percent over his last nine matchups.

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