Miami Heat of America youngster, Bam Adebayo will join his colleagues in the hunt for ultimate glory in USA’s National Basketball Association (NBA) this Wednesday, when thy line out for the first game in this year’s finals’ series against Los Angeles Lakers, megasportsarena.com reports.
Game 1 promises to be a feisty affair for Adebayo and his teammates, as they go out against a more favored side, beaming with lots of pedigree, data and the presence of LeBron James, who will be all out to prove his mettle against one of his former clubs.
Incidentally, Adebayo was on top of his game as The Heat stormed into the 2020 NBA Finals with a 125-113 victory over Boston Celtics on Sunday night, as they completed a 4-2 series win in the Eastern Conference finals; and many eyes will again be on the Nigerian-born lad to lead Miami.
Adebayo led the way in Game 6 with a career-high 32 points and 14 rebounds, while the hero of Game 5, Tyler Herro came alive again with 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to help their side book their return to the NBA’s showpiece stage.
Jimmy Butler added 22 points and another Nigerian-born player, Andre Iguodala got a season-high 15, as The Heat advanced to the Finals for the first time since 2014 and the first time they will face Lakers at this stage of the glamorous competition.
Before now, Miami reached five finals between 2006 and 2014, four of which featured LeBron in their squads, but he will be in the opposition this time when this year’s culmination of the NBA season gets underway on Wednesday night.
Heading into Game 1, Adebayo recalled that Game 5 of the conference finals was not as good for him because, though he had 22 points before the fourth quarter, he could not prevent a surge back by The Celtics, who sprung a line-up that slowed him and The Heat down.
In hindsight, Adebayo confirmed that he felt flustered when The Celtics romped back with 6:54 left and went on a 22-8 second-half run with Grant Williams, whose strength and lateral speed allowed Boston switch the game’s tempo, while Daniel Theis checked in, and the gates opened.
On the possession following the substitution, Adebayo dribbled, turned Theis sideways, led him to the basket and dunked, threw him off balance in the paint, notching a floater and drawing a foul, then got double-teamed on a drive, swung his arm around Kemba Walker and flipped a pass to Jimmy Butler for a layup, before his marker or Jayson Tatum could recover.
However, Theis then fouled Adebayo twice and, within 90 seconds, he was out, thereby giving The Heat a much-desired opportunity to regain their lead, but the Nigerian star on the receiving end of muscle-tactics from Boston, especially with Williams bumping him before catches and pushing his chest into his base.
Williams got wide and tailed Adebayo like a brick wall, forcing him to dribble horizontally, while also stripping him when he tried to turn and Jaylen Brown muscled him up on catches; but The Heats ’ coach Erik Spoelstra insisted the whole team must take responsibility, as he reasoned: “All the greats have done that before. It was not his fault. It was all of us. But he wanted to put it on his broad shoulders.”
That was Game 5, then Game 6 came and Adebayo put up 32 points on 15 shots, 14 rebounds and five assists to carry The Heat into a matchup against LeBron and LA Lakers, with a cross-section of NBA pundits thinking maybe the Nigerian-born lad can make a difference for Boston with his ruthless aggression and daring shots, which have already inspired many legends.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe noted that Adebayo is trying to beat Alonzo Mourning’s weight-lifting records, and once fired up during a pre-draft workout, when he accused The Heat’s president, Pat Riley and the coach, Spoelstra for testing whether he could contain guards.
He remembers being cut from USA’s national team in 2019 and he does not like being doubted, such that he will go all to prove his quality and value when the NBA’s championship series gets off the ground on Wednesday night at AdventHealth Arena in Orlando, Florida, USA.
Tipoff for Game 1 is shortly after 6pm PDT, and the best-of-seven game will be played every other day with the exception of a two-day break between Games 4-5; as The Lakers aim for a 17th NBA title – the first five came during their time in Minneapolis, hence the name Lakers, while 11 others after their move to 12th Los Angeles
On the other hand, The Heat are seeking their fourth title, the last two of which they got with LeBron joining forces with Miami legend, Dwyane Wade and ace big man, Chris Bosh in 2012 and 2013; following their initial conquest in 2006 – after Shaquille O’Neal joined them from Lakers.
Games 5, 6 and 7 will be played if necessary, in a format that will follow this schedule – Game 1: Wednesday, September 30, 6pm PDT; Game 2: Friday, October 2, 6pm PDT; Game 3: Sunday, October 4, 4:30pm PDT; Game 4: Tuesday, October 6, 6pm PDT; Game 5: Friday, October 9, 6pm PDT; Game 6: Sunday, October 11, 4:30pm PDT; and Game 7: Tuesday, October 13, 6pm PDT.
Heading into the final match-up, Adebayo said he was not satisfied with his personal form and performance in Game 5, but, after spending 44 hours between that loss and tip-off on Sunday night, he was back in top form when his side won Game 6 with 125-113 to advance to the NBA Finals.
Adebayo is now banking on support from the home front to spur him forward against Lakers and he enthused: “My family knows how I get when I play bad — especially if we lose — I put that on my shoulders.
“I let my teammates down in Game 5. So I just had to realign myself with who I really want to become, and I just showed that. You say you haven’t seen me be a scorer in the fourth before; so there you go.”