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.