Entering the NBA Finals as the Eastern Conference champions, the Miami Heat posed a serious threat to the Los Angeles Lakers. But during Game 1, they had multiple injury concerns. Veteran guard Goran Dragic and young All-Star Bam Adebayo had to leave the game due to injuries.
Unlike Dragic, Adebayo was able to return in Game 4, but he was clearly not at his best. Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen later spoke about how Bam’s level wasn’t good enough for the Finals but also acknowledged that this was because Adebayo was fighting through his injury.
“To me, he looked about 75%,” Pippen said. “When you’re talking NBA Finals, you have to play 110% and we have yet to see him be pretty much 100%... When Bam shows up, this series will be a different series… Bam has yet to raise his level of play, and I think a lot of it is because of the injury he took in Game 1.”
Can the Miami Heat cling on without Bam at his best?
Pippen also commended Bam for giving his best but maintained that the Heat would need more, especially against an opponent of such caliber.
Pippen said, “The injury he took was earlier in the series and it took him out of the series for the first two-and-a-half games. I think the most important thing is that he tried to give his best effort in last night’s game. But his best effort wasn’t good enough, and he has to play at a superstar level to give the Miami Heat a chance to win.”
While facing Anthony Davis, the Heat need a capable defender to stop him. Adebayo could have been that player, but his injury has slowed him down. The Heat now have Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard to guard Davis. This is a mismatch the Lakers should love.
Even when he wasn’t at his best offensively, Davis had a good game on Tuesday. He finished with 22 points while shooting 50% from the field, including a dagger that sealed the game. He also had one steal and four blocks during this all-round performance.
Friday could be the Heat’s last game in the Finals. Unless they find a way to stop Davis, they could be flirting with a loss.