For all the numbers that doomed the Miami Heat in their costly defeat Wednesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, including their season-high 24 turnovers, there was one number even more stark in the box score.
Because there wasn’t any number there, at all.
For the first time since his rookie season, when he still was an understudy to Hassan Whiteside in 2019-20, Heat center Bam Adebayo went without a defensive rebound. Adebayo’s lone rebound in the 104-100 loss came with 1:57 to play on the offensive end.
For Adebayo, who is averaging 9.5 rebounds this season, including 7.0 on the defensive glass, it was a baffling statistical anomaly.
“The rebounding gods weren’t on my side,” he said.
But the Cavaliers’ focus was, as coach J.B. Bickerstaff noted afterward regarding his pregame instruction to Cleveland center Jarrett Allen.
“It was a message that was sent to Jarrett,” Buckerstaff said ahead of the teams’ rematch Friday night at Miami-Dade Arena. “We know what Bam was going to do and how aggressive he is on the glass and how he can hurt you on the offensive glass in particular, giving his team extra possessions and then putting you under more foul pressure, also. So J.A. took it to heart.”
Allen closed with a game-high 12 rebounds, but deflected credit from shutting down Adebayo.
“Honestly, sometimes, honestly, the ball just doesn’t bounce your way,” Allen said, “and I think that was part of the case tonight. And we just tried to make an effort to try to keep the ball out of his hands.”
The lone rebound was the fewest for Adebayo since he had two on Jan. 19, 2019 against the Chicago Bulls. But the 28:42 played Wednesday night was the most he has played without getting more than one rebound.
What remained a constant for Adebayo against the Cavaliers was his offensive efficiency. In closing 8 of 11 from the field Wednesday night, he now is shooting .653 in 17 career appearances against the Cavaliers.
Considering he closed with a game-high 26 points, including powering his way to a 12-of-15 performance from the foul line, there was no postgame questioning of Jimmy Butler using the Heat’s day off Tuesday to fly cross country to Los Angeles for Pau Gasol’s jersey retirement by the Lakers.
Gasol and Butler were teammates at the start of Butler’s career with the Chicago Bulls.
“Very important for me,” Butler said of his travel whirlwind. “Pau has been a brother to me from obviously our Chicago days. He really taught me how to be a pro, what it’s like being a champion, and me wanting to get there one day. And I wouldn’t miss that for the world.
“I miss him, as I tell him all the time. We stay in touch all the time. And I’m sure I’ll see him this summer, whether it be in Cali, in Spain. Somewhere, somehow, I’ll find some time to sit down and have some dinner with my guy.”
G League updates
Center Orlando Robinson, with only four NBA days remaining on his two-way contract, said the plan is for him to return to the Heat’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, on Saturday.
The Skyforce have six regular-season games remaining,
The Skyforce are in sixth place in the G League’s Western Conference, with the top six teams in each conference advancing to the playoffs . . .
Heat rookie big man Nikola Jovic is coming off a two-game rehab stint with the Skyforce, having been sidelined since late December with a back issue.
After going for 12 points, nine rebounds and four assists on Monday night for the Skyforce, Jovic, the No. 27 pick in last June’s NBA draft, on Wednesday night had 26 points, 10 rebounds and four assists for Sioux Falls.
Kyle Lowry (knee) again is listed as out for Friday, with Kevin Love (rib) listed as probable. Jovic remains on his G League assignment. Those are the only three players on the Heat injury report.
Source: Read Full Article