Heat Advance to NBA Finals On Bam Adebayo’s Big Performance
The Miami Heat earned their spot in the NBA Finals by defeating the Boston Celtics 125-113 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals and now await the start of their series against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Heat were fueled by an epic performance from big man Bam Adebayo who scored a career-high 32 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists in 39 minutes to bring Miami back to the Finals for the first time since 2014.
It was a bounce-back performance for Adebayo, who shouldered some of the blame for the Heat’s loss in Game 5.
“Bam is one of the great competitors already in this association,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell.
“He’s going to become one of the great winners in the history just because he’s so competitive. He moves the needle in every single day. You can’t put an analytic to his game and that’s probably why he was overlooked in college. He competes every single possession. He’s really going into a leadership role. Way beyond his years. His offensive game is just growing daily. And he wants the responsibility, and he wants the accountability, and he isn’t afraid of putting that responsibility on his shoulders, and that’s what he did the other night.
“All the greats in the history of the game have done that before. It was not his fault. That was a collective effort, including the coaching staff, but he wanted to take a step forward and put it on his broad shoulders, and he backed that up tonight. He was sensational. And just from a competitive standpoint, all across the board.”
“I let my teammates down in Game 5,” Adebayo said. “I had to realign myself with who I really want to become and I showed that tonight. You say you haven’t seen me be a scorer in the fourth before? Well, there ya go. It is just one of those things. Coaches want me to be better and they want me to do great things. That is the first time I have gone play to play to play, back to back to back, so being in that moment and embracing it and taking over as we win the conference finals is a great thing for me. At the end of the day, we have four more. Business isn’t done yet.”
Now the Heat will face Lebron James, who lead them to their championships several years ago, and the Lakers.
“The main key, and it’s been like this for a very long time, if you want to win, you’re going to have to go through a LeBron James-led team,” Heat superstar Jimmy Butler said. “At the end of the day, that’s what it normally comes down to, and that’s what we got to focus in on. Honestly, we can’t just focus in on him because he has so many really good players around him. But you’re going to get the same test over and over again until you pass it. That test is LeBron James.”