The Miami Heat will be a couple of cards short of a full deck during their Eastern Conference semifinal bout with the New York Knicks. Tyler Herro is currently nursing a broken hand — his return this postseason would likely require the Heat to return to the NBA Finals.
Meanwhile, Victor Oladipo will be out for several months once again after tearing his patellar tendon. But Miami’s injury concerns don’t end there.
All-Star center Bam Adebayo has been dealing with a hamstring strain, one that the big man has said requires “constant treatment, 24 hours,” as relayed by the Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang. While the injury didn’t prevent him from playing in Game 5 against Milwaukee, it has remained a point of concern for all of Heat Nation.
That said, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra gave an encouraging update on Adebayo on Friday.
“He just got done with a workout,” Spoelstra said, via the Herald’s Barry Jackson. “He feels much better.”
Heat’s Bam Adebayo Played a Key Role Down the Stretch of Clincher vs Bucks
In discussing Adebayo’s injury situation, Spoelstra made a point to note that the baller had done some of his best work down the stretch of his squad’s closeout effort, the hamstring issues notwithstanding.
“He played his best in the fourth quarter [on Wednesday],” Spoelstra said. “He has a way of overcoming everything.”
During the final 12 minutes of regulation in Game 5 versus the Bucks, Adebayo was a key cog on both sides of the basketball, scoring nine points, snagging six rebounds and adding five assists and a blocked shot. Meanwhile, the Heat outscored their opponents by 14 points when he was on the floor.
Those dimes were a particularly large component of what the Heat were able to accomplish. Milwaukee’s defense was thrown off-kilter on several possessions when Coach Spo had Adebayo bring the ball up the court and facilitate the offense, as opposed to having Gabe Vincent or Jimmy Butler run the show.
Assuming Adebayo can continue to overcome his ailment, it’s a tactic Spoelstra could utilize again in Round 2 against New York’s more traditional big men.
Adebayo finished Game 5 with a 20-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist triple-double to go along with two steals and the block.
Scout Expects Jimmy Butler Will Come Back to Earth vs Knicks
Few players in NBA history have played a series like Jimmy Butler just did against the Bucks. The Heat star averaged 37.6 points on 59.7% shooting overall and 44.4% from three-point range across five games, while adding 6.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.8 steals per contest for good measure.
However, one scout isn’t convinced he can keep it up in the Knicks series.
“Jimmy Butler, obviously, was great in the later part of the regular season and he took it to another level in the playoffs,” the scout told The Athletic. “Can he maintain that? It’s sort of hard to fathom that he could, and they need him desperately, especially in the absence of Tyler Herro. I’m not saying he’s a one-man show, but he’s playing at such a level that I’m not convinced that he can maintain that, especially against a smart coach and a defensive-oriented team…
“On the other end, I think the Knicks have two guys who — I wouldn’t say ‘handle’ Butler — can give him trouble: Josh Hart and Quentin Grimes, if he’s healthy.”