Miami Heat of America in-form sensation, Bam Adebayo will be aiming for another round of heroics on Saturday night, when he joins his teammates for Game 3 of the eastern conference finals in the National Basketball Association (NBA), megasportsarena.com reports.
The upcoming third battle with Boston Celtics will be another chance for more headline feats from Adebayo, who was again in top form as The Heat were again forced to stage a mammoth comeback in order to beat The Celtics 106-101 in Game 2 on Thursday night in Orlando, Florida, USA.
Adebayo’s continued superlative form helped The Heat build a 2-0 lead over The Celtics, just two days after his side overcome a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to win Game 1, and they again found themselves starring defeat in the eye, as they gave up a 13-point lead in the first half.
However, it turned out to be another consolidation outing for Adebayo and his pals, behind a slam-dunk exhibition from the Nigerian-born youngster, and Miami exploded in the third quarter to ultimately outscore Boston 59-41 down the stretch.
Adebayo and Goran Dragic combined for 46 points for Miami, while Duncan Robinson, who was a constant threat from deep, finished with six threes, yet The Heat still carried the edge, with three of their players in double figures.
Robinson had 18 points on six three-pointers, Dragic scored a game-high 25 points and Adebayo, who also executed a game-leading 10 rebounds for his side, had 15 of 21 during a furious third-quarter comeback; as The Heat rallied from an early 17-point deficit to beat The Celtics 106-101.
The physical toughness of Jimmy Butler, Adebayo and Dragic overwhelmed Boston in a startling third-quarter turnaround and again down the stretch of the fourth quarter, as The Heat took a 2-0 series lead and the fifth-seeded side are now just two wins away from reaching the NBA’s 2020 finals; with a potentially decisive Game 3 looming large this Saturday at ‘The Bubble’ in Walt Disney World.
Heading into that game, ball fans would remain amazed at how The Heat completely flustered The Celtics with a zone-defense formation in the second half, forcing indecision after indecision and turnover after turnover.
Dragic and Adebayo abused their opponents in the pick and roll, while Robinson’s hot hand raged, but Boston let a 15 points lead early in the third quarter disappear and, for the second straight game, The Celtics collapsed under Miami’s pressure in the clutch.
Butler made an incredible steal, save and scramble for an uncontested layup to close The Heat within 94-93, then tied the game on the next possession, after which Dragic followed with five straight points, including a step-back three-pointer with time dwindling on the shot clock to give Miami a 100-95 edge with 1:42 remaining.
The Heat outscored The Celtics 37-17 in the third quarter to take an 84-77 lead into the final period, but Boston roared back with a 10-2 run in the middle of the fourth, knotting the score at 89 on a Brown basket with 5:37 remaining, then took his side within 104-101 on a three-pointer with 49.4 seconds left, but he could not tie from deep with 15.1 ticks to go as Miami held on.
The Celtics maintained momentum and led 94-89 after a three-pointer by Walker with 4:25 to go. But the Heat countered with a 13-1 run to seize control, Jae Crowder’s lay-up with 1:26 on the clock giving Miami a 102-95 edge.
Down by 13 to begin the third, The Heat rode a 15-2 spurt to a 72-71 lead with 4:17 to go, as Adebayo had 11 points during the run, giving Miami their first lead since 1:13 of the opening quarter and Heat ended the period on a 10-1 stretch to up their lead to seven through three.
The Celtics led 31-28 after a tightly contested first quarter and blew the game open in the second, after grabbing their first double-digit advantage at 43-33, on back-to-back three-pointers by Brad Wanamaker with 8:37 left.
The margin reached 17 with 3:19 to go, but Miami cut their deficit to 60-47 at the break, as Butler, who netted six of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, then pushed the lead to seven with another dogged steal and an assist to Jae Crowder for the transition layup, as six Heat players scored in double figures, led by Dragic’s 25 points.
Adebayo netted 21 points, all seemingly on dunks, and Robinson made six threes for his 18 points, leaving Marcus Smart among a number of Celtics players that heatedly voiced frustration in the locker room, ruin how their team crumbled despite having more offensive effort than they had shown in the clutch of both games against The Heat.
Boston will now bank on a three-day break between Games 3 and 4 to get additional time for better ideas and zeal back on the court, while reinforcements could also be coming for Celtics, if only they can build a lead large enough cushion to withstand Miami’s relentless surge in Game 3.
They will have to include in their plans how to stifle Adebayo, who was the hero of Game 1 with his critical block in overtime and again helped The Heat improve to 2-0 in the best-of-seven NBA Eastern Conference Finals series and 10-1 in the playoffs.
Butler, who acknowledged how exciting his side have been in, while he has also impressed in swiping three game-changing steals with his hustle in the final stanza and had 14 points on 4-of-11 shooting, said: “We just never gave up. We like to make it hard on ourselves. We like being down double digits and being the comeback kids.”
The Heat’s head coach, Erik Spoelstra added: “Bam really set the tone in that second half. That just took some of the pressure off our offense. Bam was really assertive in the pick-and-roll, and that kind of loosened up some things for us.”