Adebayo, 23, has averaged 15.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and five assists in three games, shooting 53% from the floor in 33.7 minutes of work. The Heat have won each of the three contests, and it’s largely due to Adebayo’s production and energy on both ends of the floor.
“His biggest moments came down the stretch on both ends [in Game 3], those rebounds were big time,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We needed those extra relief opportunities, because they jammed us up a couple of times and forced us into a couple of turnovers. Those relief points and those free throws were key.”
Adebayo grabbed multiple key offensive rebounds on Saturday, finishing the contest with 22 points and 11 boards. His improvement since being drafted 14th by the team in 2017 is well-documented. The Heat will desperately need his production if the team advances to the second round, with either Milwaukee or Orlando waiting as an opponent.
“I feel like the player that I am, it’s hard to [game plan] me out,” Adebayo said. “That’s because I do a lot of things so well. I’m not trying to pat myself on the back. But just because I screen well, I get guys open. It doesn’t always have to be about scoring with me. In Game 2, I had seven points but everybody said I had the biggest impact on the game. It’s little stuff like that. … When my shot isn’t falling, when my offense is not going, I always bank on my defense and my effort.”
There’s more out of Miami today:
- Tyler Herro has no plans of backing down from the Pacers’ isolation attacks throughout the rest of the series, as relayed by Anthony Chiang (Twitter link). “It’s no secret who they’re going at. They’re going at me and Duncan,” Herro said. “There’s no secret about it. I think everybody sees it. But that’s something that I’m not going to run from it.” Herro finished with 20 points in Game 3 but was targeted frequently on defense, allowing multiple baskets throughout the fourth quarter. Herro has been working with Miami’s development coaches on studying film and improving his defense this season, a process that will likely continue in the coming years.
- Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel explores how the Heat nearly shipped Goran Dragic to Dallas in the trade that brought Jimmy Butler to Miami last year. Dragic has been essential for the Heat in the first round, averaging 22.7 points, 5.7 assists and 34 minutes as the team’s starting point guard.
- The Heat are in the midst of another player transformation, this time working to incorporate Solomon Hill into the team’s hard-working culture, Winderman examines in a separate story for the Miami Herald. Hill, who was acquired along with Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala from Memphis in February, has yet to see concrete minutes for Miami in his seventh NBA campaign. He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.