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Butler misses Miami debut, Heat beat Grizzlies 120-101

MIAMI (AP) — An opening-night sellout crowd in Miami came to see Jimmy Butler. They wound up being enthralled by rookies Kendrick Nunn and Chris Silva instead. ...
Meyers Leonard, Ja Morant, Bam Adebayo

MIAMI (AP) — An opening-night sellout crowd in Miami came tosee Jimmy Butler.

They wound up being enthralled by rookies Kendrick Nunn andChris Silva instead.

Justise Winslow finished with 27 points, seven rebounds andseven assists, Nunn scored 24 points in his NBA debut and the Heat — playingwithout Butler, who missed the game for personal reasons — put together a hugefourth quarter to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 120-101 on Wednesday night in theseason opener for both teams.

“Just the beginning,” Nunn said.

His beginning had a heck of a finish.

A 24-1 run in the fourth turned everything around for Miami,which trailed 86-83 after Grayson Allen scored the opening basket of the finalquarter for Memphis.

After that, it was all Miami. Nunn and Silva — also makinghis NBA debut — combined for 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting in the fourth, witheight rebounds and three blocks. The Grizzlies, total, managed 17 points, sevenrebounds and no blocks in the fourth.

“Obviously a tough one,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkinssaid after his career debut. “The fourth quarter is not indicative of whowe are and what we can be.”

Ja Morant, the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, scored 14points and had four assists for Memphis. Jaren Jackson Jr. led the Grizzlieswith 17 points, and Tyus Jones added 15.

Morant got off to a fast start, making his first four shotsand going 5 for 7 in the first half. He picked up his fourth foul 17 secondsinto the second half, and finished 6 for 12 from the floor.

“I’m not focused on the positives,” Morant said.“For me it’s just the negative. I felt I could have been better in a lotof places, help my team out with turning up the pace to keep us going. Theycapitalized on a lot of our mistakes tonight.”

Goran Dragic scored 19 points for Miami, while Bam Adebayohad 14 points and 11 rebounds. Butler was with the Heat for their morningshootaround practice, then told the team around mid-afternoon that he would notbe able to play.

“Everything is fine,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstrasaid.

The Heat were also without guard Dion Waiters, suspended onegame for conduct detrimental to the team, and forward James Johnson — still outbecause of a conditioning issue that kept him from training camp and sidelinedfor all five of Miami’s preseason games.

Memphis hasn’t won a season-opening game on the road sincethe franchise’s inaugural game at Portland in 1995. The Grizzlies are 0-7 inopeners away from home since.

TIP-INS

Grizzlies: None of the five players who started Memphis’opener last year are still with the Grizzlies. … Jonas Valanciunas picked upfour fouls by halftime, a first in his career. He’d had three fouls by thebreak on 73 previous occasions, including playoffs. … Memphis had 60 pointsby halftime, a team record for a season opener. The previous high was 56 — byVancouver against Seattle in 2000. A year ago, Memphis had 39 at halftime ofGame 1.

Heat: Having Herro and Nunn in the starting lineup markedthe fourth time in franchise history that Miami had two rookies in the firstfive on opening night. They joined Kevin Edwards and Rony Seikaly (1988),Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade (2003) and Mario Chalmers and Michael Beasley(2008). … Spoelstra is beginning his 25th season with the organization.

ALLEN RETURNS

Ray Allen was back, and back in his spot. The former Heatguard attended the opener, and when he was introduced to the crowd after thefirst quarter, he went to the far corner opposite the Heat bench — where he hitthe overtime-forcing 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in Game 6 of the 2013 NBAFinals against San Antonio, a series Miami would win in seven games. “It’slike I never left,” Allen said.

YOUNG DEBUTS

Herro, at 19 years and 276 days, became the youngest playerto ever start for the Heat. Morant — 20 years and 74 days — became the second-youngestplayer to start a season opener for the Grizzlies. Shareef Abdur-Rahim was 19years, 326 days old when he opened for Vancouver against Portland on Nov. 1,1996.

UP NEXT

Grizzlies: Host Chicago on Friday.

Heat: Visit Milwaukee on Saturday.

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