The Miami Heat seem to be back on track to their winning habits after defeating the Phoenix Suns Monday night.
It wasn’t the prettiest of victories to their now three-game win streak, as the Suns held a 13 point-advantage at one point, but the dominance of Bam Adebayo showed up at the perfect time in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 of his 30 points.
His two-way play seems to be pushing the team in the right direction, as his screens and playmaking are getting Caleb Martin and Kyle Lowry in much needed rhythm.
After the game, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra spoke on the value Adebayo provides on both sides of the ball and how his responsibilities can benefit the rest of the team.
“He’s such a winner. He’s an absolute winner,” said Spoelstra. “He can morph into so many different roles for us where he makes it look so much easier to the average fan – everybody just wants him to score 40.”Adebayo had been off to a slow start for the first seven games of the season, resulting in the Heat winning just two games in October. Now, winners of five of their seven games in November, Adebayo has jumped his averages to 20.7 points per game, 10.3 rebounds, and 40 assists per game on 52.7 percent shooting from the field.
The Heat is doing better once Adebayo takes over a game, but as co-star Jimmy Butler mentioned last week, Miami’s defense is “not where it needs to be.”
With a 111.8 defensive rating, the Heat are 17th in the League in that category, a major drop from their fourth-best rating last season. However, the team is third in the League in points allowed in the paint (44.7), courtesy of Adebayo’s anchoring down inside.
“Understanding how to read defenses and what’s necessary for this team,” said Spoelstra on Adebayo. “when to be assertive, when to create for others, when to set screens for guys, look, I’ve never coached really somebody where there’s been so many different responsibilities,”
Spoelstra has taken leadership over legends like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and of course, Butler, the current face of the team. Encouraging words like the one Spoelstra said on Adebayo should factor into how confident the big man plays the rest of the year.