The Heat aren’t saying how much Bam Adebayo‘s aching left wrist and forearm are affecting him, but he turned in a sub-par performance Friday night as the Celtics stayed alive in the Eastern Conference Finals, writes Manny Navarro of The Athletic. Afterward, the All-Star center told reporters he accepts responsibility for Miami’s failure to close out the series.
“I’ll put that game on me,” he said. “It’s not my teammates’ fault. It’s not my coaches’ fault. It’s me. I missed too many shots I should have made. … I wasn’t being the defensive anchor I should’ve been. I don’t think I was communicating fast enough. I feel like I was a step behind today. I wasn’t a difference-maker today. I didn’t get us into fast enough triggers. That’s on me.”
Adebayo posted 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, but allowed 1.65 points per possession as the screen defender on direct pick-and-roll plays, which is well above his average. Adebayo’s teammates stuck up for him afterward, and Navarro notes that poor 3-point shooting had a lot to do with the loss.
“That’s not on Bam. He should not say that,” responded Goran Dragic. “We know it’s not like that. It’s not on nobody. It’s on us together as a team. We should do a better job as a team. Everybody looked terrible in the third quarter. We didn’t defend. We didn’t do our job.”
There’s more Heat news to pass along:
- Kentucky’s John Calipari, who coached Adebayo in college, tells Marc Stein of The New York Times that the 23-year-old has been able to create his own position in the NBA. “He’s a point-center. Tell me the last one,” Calipari said. “And I mean truly a point-center. Not a big guy who can pass. He can bounce it and get by you. He can make bang-bang plays like a point guard. He can do Eurosteps. And he’s still going to rebound and block shots.”
- As the Heat near the one-year anniversary of the start of training camp, Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel looks back at comments from team president Pat Riley to see how they panned out. Of particular interest are his predictions for Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn and his excitement over acquiring Jimmy Butler. “The fact that Jimmy Butler wanted to come and play in Miami, that was enough for me,” Riley said last September. “We’re going to find out how he meshes with our team. We’ll see what his impact on winning is. That’s what I’m encouraged about. I embrace all the qualities he has.”
- Nick Friedell of ESPN asked several players to explain the “Heat culture” philosophy that defines the organization. “You had to go through something in life that put a chip on your shoulder,” said veteran forward Udonis Haslem. “And that’s built grit inside you that you’re willing to go through extreme circumstances to get where you’re trying to go.”