James scored 16 of his 32 points in the third period as the Heat routed the Pelicans, 107-88, at AmericanAirlines Arena on Tuesday night.
Dwyane Wade added 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for Miami, which has now won three games in a row.
Anthony Davis had a big night for New Orleans, registering 22 points, 12 rebounds, three steals and two blocks. However, just about all of that came in the first half. The Pelicans big man was held to just six points and two boards over the final two quarters.
The light second half didn't stop Heat coach Erik Spoelstra from lauding the young star, via Ethan Skolnick of B/R.
Spoelstra on Anthony Davis: "He's clearly a David Robinson type."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) January 8, 2014
The Heat, who outscored the Pelicans 64-39 in the second half, shot 51 percent from the floor overall.
Spo on the #HEATwin: "I was encouraged by the 2nd half, to be able to keep them out of the paint and be much more committed."— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 8, 2014
Key Player Grades
LeBron James, Small Forward
James was consistently great throughout this contest, but his performance during the third quarter was otherworldly.
The reigning MVP poured in 16 of his 32 points in the third period, doing it from all over the floor and completely changing the complexion of the game.
James got to the basket, he made threes (3-of-6), and he ran the offense beautifully.
LeBron also had a couple of highlight alley-oop slams courtesy of Wade.
Here is one of them:
James shot 13-of-22 from the field.
Dwyane Wade, Shooting Guard
Wade looked absolutely awesome in this one.
The 2-guard posted 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists and was all over the place, making plays on both ends of the floor and displaying outstanding athleticism all night.
Wade hit nine of his 15 shots and was aggressive in driving to the basket despite playing the second half of a back-to-back just two nights prior.
Biggest development of tonight might be Wade looking so spry playing third game in 4 nights. Might he now play N.Y.-Brooklyn back-to-back?— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) January 8, 2014
It seems like the intermittent rest that Erik Spoelstra has been giving Dwyane throughout the season is paying significant dividends.
Chris Bosh, Center
This wasn't Chris Bosh's greatest game, but the Heat big man was decent.
Bosh tallied 12 points and nine rebounds, going 3-of-7 from the floor. Most importantly, he made some big plays during the third quarter stretch where Miami took control of the contest, including knocking down his only triple of the night.
You also have to give him credit for helping shut down Davis in the second half.
Spo on @chrisbosh's performance: "He's an elite defender and he's proving it every single night."— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 8, 2014
And how about this? Bosh was a plus-29, the best of any player in this game.
He went 5-of-5 from the free-throw line for good measure.
His inability to keep Davis off the glass early on costs him a little bit, though.
Norris Cole, Point Guard
Norris Cole, who started in place of the injured Mario Chalmers, scored nine points in this one, going 3-of-7 from the floor and 2-of-5 from distance.
The floor general did a great job of spreading the floor, finding his spot in the corner and being an outlet when LeBron was double-teamed.
Cole also did a magnificent job on Jrue Holiday, holding the former All-Star to four points off 2-of-6 shooting.
Cole's numbers may not be eye-opening, but his impact on this game was undeniable.
Rashard Lewis, Power Forward
Rashard Lewis got the start due to the absence of Shane Battier.
He scored two points, going 1-of-5 from the floor and missing all three of his three-point tries. Lewis also only logged one rebound in his 17 minutes.
It seems pretty safe to say that Lewis wasn't that good.
Ray Allen, Sixth Man
This was a solid night for Ray Allen.
The veteran recorded 11 points, knocking down a couple of triples and shooting 3-of-7 from the floor. Allen also grabbed three rebounds and made some intelligent passes to his teammates in 29 minutes.
What more can you ask of a sixth man?
Chris Andersen stole the show for the Miami bench.
The reserve big man scored 15 points on perfect 7-of-7 shooting, 11 of those points coming in the fourth quarter. He hauled in seven rebounds and played some outstanding interior defense in his 23 minutes. Plus, he played a significant role in slowing Davis down in the second half.
Michael Beasley wasn't so fortunate.
Beasley fouled out in 13 minutes, going 0-of-3 and committing a couple of turnovers. Yikes.
Still, thanks to Andersen, Miami's pine earns solid marks.
What's Next for the Heat?
After that, they got five days off before continuing their road trip for four more games. Fortunately for Miami, those contests look easy on paper, as the Heat will see the Washington Wizards, Philadelphia 76ers, Charlotte Bobcats and Atlanta Hawks.