Traveling to Atlanta this Sunday night, once again without Jimmy Butler, the Heat had to find a way to take down a strong Atlanta team at home. The Miami collective was able to raise the tone in the 2nd half, all behind a sparkling Bam Adebayo on both sides of the field: 106-98 victory for Florida.
What if he was the Heat’s best player this season?
Jimmy Butler remains the boss of Miami, from morning to night, but it is clear that – as Erik Spoelstra publicly recalled – Adebayo is the player the Heat can count on the most in these first six weeks of competition. And after slaying the thugs from Washington this weekend, it’s the ones from Atlanta that Bam has taken care of with malicious pleasure. That said, let’s not reduce this Sunday’s performance to just one man, because it was a collective that could have won to further frustrate the Falcons and their fans. Still hot and focused in the first period, Trae Young’s friends couldn’t find the solution as they left the locker room against the higher intensity developed by the Heat.
Because yes, it was 2 Heat teams showing up in Atlanta this Sunday. We’re not kidding.
The contrast was striking, between the first and the second period: 60 points conceded before halftime, 38 after. The release of the barbed wire was official, With Bam of course in the lot, but also the other colleagues who are responsible for pissing off the Atlanta series until the last buzzer. Caleb Martin in all the good moves, Tyler Herro in triple-double, Kyle Lowry all in wisdom and vice, even Dewayne Dedmon and Dru Smith could contribute to this great turnaround, knowing that the Heat started this event very difficult. So there was a sense of collective achievement, of sudden team regrouping, when the final score signaled victory for Miami.
But how not to talk about the man of the evening?
Bam Adebayo’s last 7 matches:
86% in throws
Plain Goof Defense
— TrashTalk (@TrashTalk_fr) November 28, 2022
And how can we not talk about this five-star Bam Adebayo, who takes on a huge dimension in the Heat game? Often singled out for his lack of aggressiveness in attack, this sometimes heartbreaking laziness given his great talent, the pivot experienced a kind of click that pushed him to destroy his opponents. And 30 against Phoenix, and 38 against Washington, and 32 against Atlantathe creepy, offensively committed version of Adebayo has been active at the right time since Jimmy Butler has been absent.
But the stat that probably makes Erik Spoelstra, his staff and Wade County fans smile the most?
2 out of 7.
Bam Adebayo has attempted fewer than 18 shots in just 2 of the last 7 games. He has consistently hit in areas almost unknown to him, with more than 18 shots attempted, including 20 and 22 precisely in these last two meetings. And who says effort says throw, because the opposing defense is under pressure. Suffice it to say that Spo and his group will be delighted to remind Bam to stay collective, even with the return of Jimmy Buckets. Because when he plays like that, defensively dominant, air in attack and full become in the racket, it is an undeniable All-Star that we see before our eyes.
Bam Adebayo is exceptional right now, and the Heat really need that given the struggles of this start to the season. Hope the pivot gets a nice rest until Wednesday night, because he’ll need it: Miami heads to Boston, for a repeat of the last conference finals. Indispensable, at all levels.