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Heat will see what they have in reserve for Game 2 vs. Lakers

Heat guard Kendrick Nunn talks to coach Erik Spoelstra during a playoff game in Orlando, Fla., on Sept. 2, 2020.
Heat guard Kendrick Nunn talks to coach Erik Spoelstra during a playoff game in Orlando, Fla.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

With Game 1 completely decided and the Miami Heat down two stars, rookie guard Kendrick Nunn entered the game and started to get hot.

He drove into the paint and scored, made jumpers and spot-up shots, helping inject some life into a Heat team that had been pretty badly beaten.

And with point guard Goran Dragic doubtful to play in Game 2, it’ll likely be Nunn that the Heat are going to count on to do it all over again.

“I mean, I don’t I think I need a speech or anything like that. I’m ready to play,” Nunn said Thursday. “I’ve been ready, been all season. I had to step up, and simple as that. I’ll be ready to play and compete and go out there and try to get a win.”

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Heat center Bam Adebayo is also listed as doubtful for Game 2. Former starting big man Kelly Olynyk would presumably get more minutes as Adebayo’s replacement.

In Game 1, Nunn scored 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting with 14 of those points coming in the fourth quarter.

Anthony Davis and LeBron James are the Lakers’ stars, but the team may throw fresh bodies at the Heat as the series continues with Game 2 tonight.

Nunn, who went to Illinois, was undrafted after college in 2018 and signed as a free agent with the Golden State Warriors.. He spent last season in the NBA’s G League with the Santa Cruz Warriors before making the Heat and becoming one of the top rookies in the NBA this season.

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He averaged 15.3 points in 67 regular-season games — all starts — before moving to the bench in the postseason. During the shutdown, Nunn contracted COVID-19, which kept from joining the team in the bubble until mid-August.

“He’s really worked behind the scenes. We have confidence in him,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “The other series played out just the way we felt that it would be best for those series. But he didn’t put his tail between his legs and just feel sorry for himself. That’s not how he got to this point.

“This guy has great competitive character. He’s had to overcome a lot, and he was a big weapon for us during the course of the year. So it’s good to see him get that kind of rhythm.”

LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers are three wins from an NBA championship, the franchise’s first since Kobe Bryant led them to the title in 2010.

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