Heat’s Adebayo becomes Mr. Reliable for Spoelstra; Butler (knee) not traveling to Atlanta – The Mercury News

Sometimes it is the external conversation that confirms the ascension.

So even beyond the 38 points that Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo put up on the visiting Washington Wizards in Friday night’s 110-107 win, what might have resonated even more were the postgame comments from Wizards center Kristaps Porzingis.

“I can’t remember,” said Porzingis, “when he played like that.”

Considering Adebayo’s career high is 41, it’s not like there have been many such games for Adebayo.

But setting his career bests with 22 shots, 15 baskets and 30 points in the paint, it was another sign of a player aiming for a more aggressive approach, which has been a focus this season.

“That’s one of those games where he shows his dominance of a big, and that’s on both ends of the floor,” said point guard Kyle Lowry, as the Heat shifted their focus to Sunday’s 5 p.m. game against the Atlanta Hawks at the start of a four-game journey. “But we don’t want him to have to do it every night, but it’s great to see. If he can do that, it will make our lives a lot easier.”

For coach Erik Spoelstra, it was yet another example of Adebayo delivering what was needed, in this case with Jimmy Butler, Max Strus, Gabe Vincent and Duncan Robinson out Friday night with injuries, and with Lowry, Caleb Martin and Jamal Cain dealing with a bug. that was doing the rounds in the locker room.

“Bam was Mr. Reliable,” said Spoelstra. “He has been Mr. Reliable all season, through all the adversity. He is the man we have just been able to count on, with his mental stability, his consistency, his leadership and then also his game on both sides of the pitch.

“I think at some point I’ll print the shirt,” Mr. Reliable’ and I will wear them with pride.”

Adebayo had none of that, but he took what the wizards gave.

“It was one of those things where my teammates gave me the ball,” he said, “and I just took advantage of the mismatch and the shots they let me take.”

All this while emptying a series of floats over 7-foot-3 Porzingis.

“I mean, I’ve been working on my touch, trick shots, playing horse, and just practicing those kinds of extended shots,” Adebayo said.

Adding 12 rebounds, Adebayo passed Dwyane Wade for fifth in Heat career doubles on 127. Next is teammate Udonis Haslem on 134. The Heat’s all-time leaders are Rony Seikaly on 221, Alonzo Mourning on 205 and Hassan Whiteside at 185.

“They wanted him to be aggressive in the beginning, and he did, and it worked out well for him,” said Porzingis.

Injury report

Butler (knee) did not travel with the team on Saturday, but it is expected (or at least hoped) that he may rejoin the team for Wednesday’s game against the Boston Celtics.

The only other player not to travel was center Omer Yurtseven, who is recovering from ankle surgery. That means that Victor Oladipo, who has been sidelined since the pre-season with knee problems, is back on the road with the team.

Ten players are on the formal injury report for Sunday’s game.

Out: Butler (knee), Oladipo (knee), Yurtseven (ankle).

questionable: Martin (illness), Dewayne Dedmon (foot), Vincent (knee), Tyler Herro (ankle), Strus (shoulder), Robinson (ankle).

Probably: Cain (disease).


Given the chance to commit a two-shot foul to Bradley Beal in a three-point game at Friday’s finish, Martin said there was no other thought but to play it straight up, with Beal off with a 26-foot, step -back potential equalizer. 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds remaining.

“I wasn’t really thinking about fouling,” said Martin. “I pride myself on trying to get stops. As a defender, those are the kind of matchups and situations you dream about – play on the line, go against a guy like Bradley Beal with the ball, late shot clock. Those are the kinds of plays I dream of.”

Martin finished with 20 points in the win, giving him 20-point consecutive games for the first time in his career of four seasons after scoring 24 in Wednesday’s home win over the Wizards.


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