MIAMI, FL, Sporting Alert – Miami Heat and the New Orleans Pelicans will tip-off the 2015 Christmas Day fixtures at the AmericanAirlines Arena here in Miami, FL, on Friday.
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Good news for the home side, as Miami (16-11) will welcome back starting point guard Goran Dragic, who will play today against New Orleans.
Dragic missed Tuesday’s defeat against the Pistons because of thumb and wrist injuries, but the star guard is fit again and will feature.
The seven-year pro is averaging 11.3 points, 5.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game.
The Heat, though, is now confirming that Tyler Johnson and Josh McRoberts are both out of the contest.
Johnson, who is averaging 9.1 points and 2.3 rebounds per game as a reserve, had been doubtful with a shoulder problem and was considered a game-time decision for Friday’s game, but the shooting guard will not play.
Forward McRoberts will miss the game with a knee injury.
Dwyane Wade leads the Miami Heat in scoring with 18.5 points per game, while Hassan Whiteside is averaging 10.9 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per battle on the defensive side.
Chris Bosh comes in as the best all-around contributor for Miami – averaging 17.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per contest.
Meanwhile, the Pelicans are being led by All-Star forward Anthony Davis, who is contributing 23.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and blocks 2.7 shots per game.
Davis, who is averaging over 27 points and shooting over 62-percent in the last two games, is playing in his first Christmas Day game.
The Pelicans (9-19) enter this game on a two-game winning streak after beating Portland and Denver.
Miami Heat, in the meantime, is on a two-game losing streak.
The Heat are 9-2 all-time on Christmas Day and have been favored by 5-points to win this game.
Whiteside and Davis are the top two shot blockers this season and they are both expected to add to their tally on Friday.
New Orleans won both encounters last season, including a 105-91 triumph here in Miami on Feb.27.