Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo continues to rise up the rankings for NBA Defensive Player of the Year. He’s also earning quite the reputation as a vocal leader in the locker room, on and off the court. So when Adebayo compliments a teammate, people tend to listen.
The one-time All-Star has been enjoying a front-row seat for heady play by Dewayne Dedmon. Adebayo’s primary backup scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds in 13 minutes (+8) during Sunday night’s 121-111 win over the Charlotte Hornets. His big-time contributions haven’t gone unnoticed.
“He’s just another version of me,” Adebayo told reporters on Sunday. “He brings that energy, brings that intensity. We need that. And he does it at critical moments, like today.”
Dedmon is now averaging 8.3 points and 5.9 rebounds in 10 games for the Heat since coming out of a brief retirement. The only thing the 7-footer hasn’t been doing is shooting the long ball, something Jimmy Butler has been advocating for in recent days. For now, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra wants him to concentrate on controlling the paint when Adebayo is on the bench.
Bam Adebayo described Dewayne Dedmon’s effort and energy about as well as possible.
“He plays hard as sh*^.” pic.twitter.com/JC5W7We69b
— Will Manso (@WillManso) May 3, 2021
“He’s physical, has a presence at the rim, and he’s a really good free-throw shooter,” Spoelstra said. “He still can shoot the threes. I see it every day in practice. And that’s not to say we might not explore those things as we move forward.”
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Butler Sets Another Milestone in Victory
Butler only had one steal against Charlotte, but it was a big takeaway as the five-time All-Star etched his name in the record books. He became one of only two players in NBA history to post eight straight seasons with 100-plus steals.
Our #JIMVP does it on both ends of the floor
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 3, 2021
The other player to do it? James Harden.
Butler has 100 steals in 49 games this season after notching 103 last year. After Sunday’s game, Butler was more interested in talking about his teammates. He finished with 18 points, eight assists, eight rebounds in only 28 minutes while resting most of the fourth quarter.
“It feels good to sit back and mess with some people on the bench,” Butler said. “I have the utmost confidence and belief that these guys can play with or without me in the rotation.”
Staying Out of NBA Play-In Tournament
The victory stretched the Heat’s winning streak to three games as they desperately try to avoid the NBA’s play-in tournament. Miami has to at least capture the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference to do it, which is where they are sitting right now at 35-30. They are one game ahead of the Boston Celtics for that spot.
“We definitely want to be in the top six and not play in the seeding game,” veteran guard Goran Dragic said. “We need to fight every game because it’s important. It is the playoffs.”
Remember, teams who finish No. 7 through No. 10 get thrown into that dreaded play-in tournament (May 18-21) which begins the week before the regular playoffs. The squads with the seventh-highest and eighth-highest winning percentages in each conference will each have two opportunities to win one game to earn a playoff spot, per NBA rules.
— NBA (@NBA) March 10, 2021