MIAMI (AP)Justise Winslow scored 27 points, rookie Kendrick Nunn scored 24 in his NBA debut, and the Miami Heat ran away in the fourth quarter to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 120-101 Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.
Goran Dragic scored 19 points for Miami, which played without Jimmy Butler – who missed what would have been his Heat debut for personal reasons. Nunn and fellow rookie Tyler Herro started in the backcourt instead.
Bam Adebayo had 14 points and 11 rebounds for Miami, while Winslow added seven rebounds and seven assists.
Ja Morant, the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, scored 14 points and had four assists for Memphis. Jaren Jackson Jr. led the Grizzlies with 17 points, and Tyus Jones added 15.
Butler was with the Heat for their morning shootaround practice, then told the team around mid-afternoon that he would not be able to play.
”Everything is fine,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
The Heat were also without guard Dion Waiters, suspended one game for conduct detrimental to the team, and forward James Johnson – still out because of a conditioning issue that kept him from training camp and sidelined for all five of Miami’s preseason games.
Grayson Allen’s jumper to open the fourth put Memphis up 86-83. It was the Grizzlies’ last hurrah of the evening.
The rest was all Miami.
The Heat outscored Memphis 24-1 over the next 7 minutes, the Grizzlies missed nine consecutive shots from the field, and what had been a close game – neither team ever led by more than eight at any time in the first three quarters – became a runaway.
Nunn and Chris Silva – another rookie making his NBA debut – combined for 19 points in the fourth for Miami.
Morant got off to a fast start, making his first four shots and going 5 for 7 in the first half. He picked up his fourth foul 17 seconds into the second half, and finished 6 for 12 from the floor.
Memphis hasn’t won a season-opening game on the road since the franchise’s inaugural game at Portland in 1995. The Grizzlies are 0-7 in openers away from home since.
Grizzlies: It was the debut for new coach Taylor Jenkins. … None of the five players who started Memphis’ opener last year are still with the Grizzlies. … Jonas Valanciunas picked up four fouls by halftime, a first in his career. He’d had three fouls by the break on 73 previous occasions, including playoffs. … Memphis had 60 points by halftime, a team record for a season opener. The previous high was 56 – by Vancouver against Seattle in 2000. A year ago, Memphis had 39 at halftime of Game 1.
Heat: Having Herro and Nunn in the starting lineup marked the fourth time in franchise history that Miami had two rookies in the first five on opening night. They joined Kevin Edwards and Rony Seikaly (1988), Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade (2003) and Mario Chalmers and Michael Beasley (2008). … Coach Erik Spoelstra is beginning his 25th season with the organization.
Ray Allen was back, and back in his spot. The former Heat guard attended the opener, and when he was introduced to the crowd after the first quarter, he went to the far corner opposite the Heat bench – where he hit the overtime-forcing 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals against San Antonio, a series Miami would win in seven games. ”It’s like I never left,” Allen said.
Herro, at 19 years and 276 days, became the youngest player to ever start for the Heat. Morant – 20 years and 74 days – became the second-youngest player to start a season opener for the Grizzlies. Shareef Abdur-Rahim was 19 years, 326 days old when he opened for Vancouver against Portland on Nov. 1, 1996.
Grizzlies: Host Chicago on Friday.
Heat: Visit Milwaukee on Saturday.
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