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    Russ Smith Returns Home, Leads the Pelicans to Victory Over Heat 98-86
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    For the first time ever the Miami Heat and the New Orleans Pelicans met at the KFC Yum! Center for an NBA preseason basketball game. At the time the game was scheduled, Lebron James was part of the Heat and, had he still been part of the team, would have been the undisputed star. But situations change and a familiar player was the real star: former University of Louisville guard Russ Smith. He led the way to a 98-86 win.

    Smith scored 12 points in the victory and other familiar faces also populated the Pelican bench. Ex-University of Kentucky stars Anthony Davis and Darius Miller started the game and contributed as well. Davis was particularly impressive when he rejected the Heat's Chris Bosh twice.

    It had to be odd for the Heat. They were the home team for the game and they brought their announcers and their "Heat Nation" graphics as well as their deejay. And by doing so, the crowd got excited. At the same time they cheered in a deafening fashion for Davis and Miller. And they spent over two quarters chanting for Smith to get in the game. "We want Russ" was the loudest chant of the evening.

    It's early, but you can find some take aways from the game:

    • The Heat are still pretty good even without Lebron
    • The Pelicans are young and hungry and should contend
    • Shabazz Napier still can't guard Russ Smith

    Photos by: Tim Girton/

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    About Tim Girton

    Tim Girton writes about University of Louisville sports here at and his love for Louisville continues on his photoblog, called This Is Louisville.

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