When the Heat started its run to the championship last spring, point guard Norris Cole didn’t have much say in Miami’s first-round knockout of the Knicks.

Cole, then a rookie, played just more than six minutes — combined — in Miami’s wins in Games 2 and 3 and never left the bench in the final two games of that series.

That wasn’t the case in the opening round of these playoffs.

Cole not only found more playing time this postseason but a bigger role as Miami’s main option at the point in the fourth quarter.

“This is fun,” Cole said. “The time of year we’ve all been waiting for. This is when it all counts.”

Coach Erik Spoelstra was quick to praise both of Miami’s point guard options with Cole and the more experienced Mario Chalmers both seeing an increased amount of court time during the sweep of the Bucks.

In last year’s postseason, Miami used LeBron James and Dwyane Wade more at the point than it did against the Bucks.

“They [Chalmers and Cole] are both giving us positive, consistent minutes, and we’re playing more point guard basketball than we have in the past,” Spoelstra said after Wednesday’s practice at AmericanAirlines Arena.

“It’s been an interesting, subtle change in our game, but those guys have been earning those minutes. We have confidence in them. More importantly, their teammates have confidence in them. You need that in a playoff series.”

Spoelstra likes how Cole has been working on his offense, pointing out how he will wait until everyone else is out of the gym before he calls it a day.

Cole works on his jump shot long after practice ends, yet it is his defense that has led him to the court in the fourth.

“Having [Chalmers] and Cole is definitely beneficial to our team,” James said.