Kendrick Nunn was the last Miami player off the court at halftime, required to hang out for an extra minute or two in order to pick up his second Eastern Conference rookie of the month trophy.
“Hopefully, I get some more,” Nunn said.
He’s well on his way.
Nunn scored 33 points on 13-for-18 shooting, Goran Dragic added 17 points and the Heat held on to beat the San Antonio Spurs 106-100 Wednesday night and move back into the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference.
“He was able to get into a great rhythm,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Nunn, who was 8 for 8 in the first half.
Bam Adebayo — cut from USA Basketball’s national team by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich over the summer — had 14 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Heat. Miami improved to 18-1 at home, one win shy of matching last season’s home win total.
“Now that you see him during the season, I’ve shaken my head several times,” Popovich said of Adebayo, a serious All-Star contender this season. “That’s not the guy that we saw during the tryout. Maybe that was my fault. Maybe I should have done it differently so his skills could come out.”
Jimmy Butler scored 12 and Duncan Robinson added 11 for Miami.
DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points on 12-of-14 shooting for San Antonio, while Patty Mills added 21 for the Spurs. San Antonio had won three of its last four games, all those wins coming against top Eastern Conference teams Milwaukee, Boston and Toronto. But the Spurs missed 11 of their first 12 shots to start the fourth quarter and lost the lead for good during that drought.
“We’re going to be fine,” DeRozan said. “It (stinks) right now. It’s right there. There’s a lot of basketball to be played. We’re trending in the right direction. We’re playing well against great teams, have beaten some great teams and that does a lot for our confidence and knowing how much time is left.”
The Spurs were 10-for-33 from 3-point range, while Miami was 17-for-40.
“It’s tough. It’s hard to win when we shoot that bad from the 3,” Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge said.
Butler’s 3-pointer with 5:24 left capped what was a 20-5 run going back to the third quarter — and was maybe a most unlikely salvo. Butler hadn’t made a 3 since Dec. 20, going 0-for-7 in his last nine games before Wednesday.
Consecutive baskets by Nunn pushed the lead to 94-83 with 3:42 left, but the Spurs came right back. Mills made a 3-pointer, DeRozan followed with a three-point play on the next possession and just like that the Heat lead was down to five with 3:04 remaining.
Mills had a good look at a 3 that would have put San Antonio within three with 1:16 left, but Butler blocked it and Miami held on from there.
Mavericks 127, Kings 123
In Sacramento, Luka Doncic had 25 points, 15 rebounds and a career-high 17 assists for his NBA-leading 12th triple-double as Dallas held off a late run to beat the Kings.
Seth Curry scored 21 points off the bench as the Mavericks won their third straight despite the absence of Kristaps Porzingis, who missed his ninth consecutive game. Dwight Powell added 17 points and nine rebounds, while Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 18.
De’Aaron Fox had 27 points and 12 assists for Sacramento. Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield scored 25 apiece.
76ers 117, Nets 106
In Philadelphia, Tobias Harris scored 34 points, including two big baskets in the final two minutes that proved to be the difference, as the Sixers topped Brooklyn.
Ben Simmons had 20 points and 11 assists for Philadelphia, which improved to 19-2 at home.
The Nets have lost nine of 11 overall and six straight away from home. Spencer Dinwiddie led Brooklyn with 26 points and eight assists. Jarret Allen had 17 points.
Pistons 113, Celtics 103
In Boston, Sekou Doumbouya scored a season-high 24 points and Detroit snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over the hosts.
Markieff Morris matched his season best with 23 points. Derrick Rose added 22 points and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk had a season-high 21. Andre Drummond added 13 points and 13 rebounds to post his 34th double-double of the season.
The Pistons shot a season-best 60.3 percent from the field.
Gordon Hayward had 25 points and seven rebounds for the Celtics, while Jaylen Brown finished with 24 points and 12 boards and Kemba Walker scored 19 points on 7-of-19 shooting and 2 for 11 from 3-point range.
Magic 119, Lakers 118
In Los Angeles, Markelle Fultz hit two big layups in the final minute while scoring 21 points during his second career triple-double, and Orlando snapped the Lakers’ nine-game winning streak.
Fultz added 11 rebounds and 10 assists, while Aaron Gordon had 21 points and a late go-ahead basket as the Magic became the first sub-.500 team to beat Western Conference-leading Los Angeles this season despite blowing a 21-point lead in the second half.
Orlando’s Wes Iwundu scored a career-high 19 points, and Nikola Vucevic scored seven of his 19 points in the fourth quarter of the Magic’s eighth win in 12 games.
LeBron James had 19 points and matched his career high with 19 assists before missing a tying 3-pointer with 3 seconds left for the Lakers (33-8), who hit the halfway point of their regular season with their first loss since Christmas.
Quinn Cook scored a season-high 22 points, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer, while Troy Daniels added a season-high 17 for Los Angeles.
Bulls 115, Wizards 106
In Chicago, Zach LaVine had 30 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, and the banged-up Bulls beat Bradley Beal and Washington.
Chicago placed seven players in double figures in its second win in its last nine games. Thaddeus Young had 18 points and eight boards, and Tomas Satoransky scored 18 points against his former team.
Beal scored 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting after he was listed as questionable because of right shoulder soreness.
Jordan McRae had 16 points for Washington, which has dropped three of four.
Raptors 130, Thunder 121
In Oklahoma City, Norman Powell scored 23 points, and Toronto held off a furious rally and beat the Thunder.
Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby each added 21 points for the Raptors, who shot a season-high 61.2 percent from the field.
Dennis Schroder scored 25 points, Danilo Gallinari scored 23 and Shai Gilgeous-Alexader added 21 for Oklahoma City, which cut a 30-point deficit to three before Toronto held on.
Pacers 104, Timberwolves 99
In Minneapolis, Domantas Sabonis matched a season high with 29 points and added 13 rebounds and six assists to lead Indiana over the hosts.
Malcolm Brogdon added 21 points and Doug McDermott scored 14 off the bench for the Pacers, who have won three straight.
Jarrett Culver led Minnesota with 17 points and Gorgui Dieng had 15 points and 11 boards. The Timberwolves have lost three in a row.
Nuggets 100, Hornets 86
In Denver, rookie reserve Michael Porter Jr. scored 19 points and recent call-up P.J. Dozier had a big debut filling in for injured point guard Jamal Murray in the second half of the Nuggets’ win over Charlotte.
Murray exited the game with 1:32 remaining in the second quarter after rolling his left ankle.
Dozier finished with 12 points in 13 minutes, including a stretch in the second half where he scored nine straight forDenver
Terry Rozier scored 20 points for the Hornets, who wrapped up a winless four-game trip.
Trail Blazers 117, Rockets 107
In Houston, Damian Lillard scored 25 points and CJ McCollum added 24 as Portland withstood a late surge from the Rockets to earn a victory.
The Trail Blazers led by double figures for most of the game, but the Rockets began cutting into the lead in the fourth. A 3 by Ben McLemore got them within five with about five minutes to go.
But McCollum and Carmelo Anthony then made consecutive 3-pointers for Portland to make it 111-100 with four minutes left, and Houston didn’t threaten again.
Russell Westbrook had a triple-double with 31 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds on a night when James Harden scored a season-low 13 points. The Rockets lost consecutive games for the first time since a season-high three-game skid from Nov. 20-24.
Anthony added 18 points with 12 rebounds for Portland in his first game against Houston since the Rockets parted ways with him after just 10 games last season.
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