It is one of the toughest things about Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra's job.
Cutting playing time is never easy but Spoelstra said it's all part of the postseason atmosphere. Rookie guard Kendrick Nunn, who started 67 games during the regular season, did not play in Tuesday's victory in Game 1 against the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
"It's something we talked about as a team and it's Game 1," Spoelstra said. "Obviously, Kendrick is a major part of our team. We will need to get into our depth at some point. I make these decisions what we feel is best at that particular time but you also want to do it with a great deal of empathy. They're not easy decisions and you just have to stay ready and K-Nunn is mentally tough enough to understand that."
Nunn and center Meyers Leonard have been the biggest rotation casualties during the NBA restart. Leonard, who made 49 starts, also did not play in Game 1. Nunn missed the first two weeks of training camp in the bubble after testing positive for COVID-19 and later had to leave the team to tend to a personal matter. Leonard is continuing to battle back from an ankle injury in February.
"(Leonard's) been through it before so he gets the big picture," Spoelstra said. "The goal is better than the role right now. Everybody is all in on that our purpose of what we're trying to get accomplished here. We'll need everybody."
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