MIAMI — There was no encore — not after falling behind by 31 points.
The Pelicans offense that clicked so effectively on Wednesday against the Washington Wizards was nowhere to be found for most of Friday night in the Magic City.
Anthony Davis scored 19 of his 41 points in the third quarter and Jrue Holiday added 21 points and eight assists, but it wasn’t enough as the Pelicans lost to the Miami Heat 106-101.
It was Davis’ third 40-points-plus game this season, and he willed the Pelicans (11-12) to within three points in the final minute, but that is as close as they got.
Pelicans forward Nikola Mirotic, who had made 14-of-28 three-point shots in the past four games, had a chance to tie Friday’s contest. However, he missed a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 47.5 seconds left in the fourth quarter and shot just 3 of 9 from distance.
“Perfect look,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “But once again, we’re back to the fact that those looks have to go in and everything has to work perfectly for us to get over the hump.
“We didn’t have any kind of start at all. You get 30 points down, and there’s not many times in the history of this league that you are going to come back and win.”
Aside from the poor start, something had to give in this game between a Heat team that had lost six straight home games — their worst skid in a decade — and a Pelicans side that is now 2-10 on the road.
Miami led by 20 points after a first quarter in which the Pelicans allowed 64-percent shooting. The lead stretched to 31 points in the second quarter — Miami’s largest advantage all season — and even though the Pelicans made a strong second-half run, they had fallen into too deep a ditch to climb out.
“We have to start the game better, attitude-wise, intensity-wise and execution-wise,” Gentry said. “It’s disappointing because I think we competed like crazy from the second quarter on.”
Before the game, Gentry talked about his desire for a repeat of his team’s jet-fueled 125-104 win over the Washington Wizards.
“I want us to play exactly how we played the other night, with that same pace, ball movement and people movement,” Gentry said.
Indeed, the Pelicans got off to a 4-0 start this season while averaging 128.3 points per game.
“We’re going to try to get back to getting Jrue off the ball,” Gentry said. “That’s the strength of our team, having him off the ball.
“He’s a great cutter, and we’re much better when we look ahead, and he’s the second attacker. We’re going to duplicate what we did the other night tonight.”
The Pelicans certainly tried to do that — Holiday was early but made just 3-of-9 shots in the first quarter, and that contributed to the hole the team dug.
Midway through the second quarter, however, the Pelicans changed the momentum. By the third quarter, with 1:13 left, the Heat lead was down to 79-75 on a layup by Julius Randle. The Pelicans could’ve cut the lead further but Solomon Hill’s outlet pass was stolen by Rodney McGruder, who hit a bank shot for an 81-75 Miami lead to end the quarter.
The Heat held on in the fourth, and it was another Pelicans road loss.
“We’ve had our moments where we played great (on the road),” Gentry said. “But there’s always been this five- or six-minute stretch where we struggle, and that’s where you see the difference.”
That struggle came early as the Pelicans shot just 38.1 percent in the first quarter and 40.0 percent in the second before Davis got hot in the third.
Gentry, upset with the officiating, got called for a technical foul with 3:50 left in the fourth quarter. ... Gentry said x-rays were negative on E’Twaun Moore’s calf injury. Moore scored six points in 26 minutes.