October 24, 2019 / 2:37 AM / 22 days ago

Heat pull away from Grizzlies for opening win

Justise Winslow scored a game-high 27 points, and the Miami Heat used a 23-1 fourth-quarter run to defeat the visiting Memphis Grizzlies 120-101 on Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.

Oct 23, 2019; Miami, FL, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks (24) shoots over Miami Heat forward Justise Winslow (20) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Winslow added seven rebounds and seven assists. Goran Dragic scored 19 points off the Miami bench, Kendrick Nunn had 24 points, and Bam Adebayo posted 14 points and 11 rebounds.

The Heat started two rookie guards: first-round pick Tyler Herro and Nunn, who went undrafted in 2018 and also made his NBA debut. It was the first time since 2008, with Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers, that the Heat started two rookies on opening night.

Herro, a 19-year-old who scored 14 points, also became the youngest player to ever start a game for Miami. The mark had been held by Winslow.

A third Heat rookie — undrafted Chris Silva — had eight points, six rebounds and three blocks.

Jaren Jackson Jr. led Memphis with 17 points. Rookie point guard Ja Morant — the NBA’s second overall draft pick — added 14 points and four assists but committed six turnovers.

This was the first game in more than a decade that Memphis didn’t have point guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol on the roster.

Instead, it was the start of the Morant era.

The game also marked the debut of Memphis’ Taylor Jenkins as an NBA head coach. The 35-year-old Ivy Leaguer (Penn) is the second-youngest coach in the NBA.

The Heat were without forward Jimmy Butler — their biggest offseason acquisition — due to personal reasons. Shooting guard Dion Waiters was suspended for this game due to a violation of team rules, with the veteran seemingly unhappy about his reserve role. In addition, forwards James Johnson (not in condition) and Udonis Haslem (sprained left wrist) also were out.

Meanwhile, two Grizzlies veterans — Andre Iguodala and Josh Jackson — are on the roster but not with the team as trades are being sought.

Even so, the Grizzlies played well early in the game. Memphis closed the first quarter on a 12-2 run, taking a 32-24 lead. Memphis shot 57.1 percent in that first quarter.

The Grizzlies closed the second quarter on a 15-6 run, taking a 60-54 lead into intermission. Memphis shot 51.1 percent in the first half while Miami shot 40.5 percent.

However, Miami, led by 11 Dragic points in the third quarter, cut Memphis’ lead to 84-83 entering the fourth.

Former NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown — unemployed after being released by the New England Patriots — was among the fans sitting courtside, and he watched the Heat pull away in the fourth.

—Field Level Media

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