Miami Heat Bam Adebayo (Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)
Heading into Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Bam Adebayo’s early-career legacy is on the line for the Miami Heat.
After taking a 2-1 Eastern Conference Finals series lead on the shoulders of Bam Adebayo‘s 31 points in Game 3, all the momentum appeared to be on the Miami Heat‘s side. Then Game 4 happened.
Not only did the Boston Celtics boat-race the Heat from opening tip en route to a 20-point victory, but the Heat looked scared and uninterested. Specifically, Bam shrank in the midst of a big moment once again.
In Game 4, Bam only took five shots and finished with just nine points and six rebounds. In fact, in three games in this series, Bam has looked that way – like he’s in over his head and that he’s not confident he can control the game.
At least thus far, his 31-point performance in Game 3 has been an aberration. Not the other three games when he’s looked like Rudy Gobert with handles. And that is a problem for the Heat. If Bam continues to fall into that shell on the offensive end, the Heat doesn’t have a shot in Game 5.
In Game 1, Bam took just four shots. In Game 2, just six. in Game 3, he took 22. Then, in Game 4, just five. Bam has been a revelation for the Heat through his young career, but I can’t help but think that his early-career legacy is on the line heading into Game 5.
Just a couple of years ago, Bam flourished as the Heat made a run to the NBA Finals. Last year, in their first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks, Bam also looked like a shell of his potential. Against Brook Lopez, he looked like he was being defended by a ghost.
The same could be said when he sees Robert Williams in the paint.
The worst part of it is that it’s not that he can’t score against Williams, because he can. The bigger problem is that too many times he just refuses to try.
There is so much on the line for the Heat tonight, but I can’t help but feel that there might be a bit more on the line for Bam.