The Miami Heat look for answers on defense with Bam Adebayo outcast after he had surgery on his injured thumb.
Adebayo suffered an ulnar collateral ligament tear in his right thumb against the Denver Nuggets last week and the big man is expected to miss four to six weeks, which is sure to be a difficult period for the Miami franchise, which is expected to be among the contenders in the Eastern Conference.
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After a 124-102 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, who did not have Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Heat are now 1-2 without their big All-Star in the lineup. Jimmy Butler is also sidleined while handling a tailbone injury.
Lacking their rim protector, the Heat had no internal response as the Bucks outscored them by 22 points in the paint (48-26) with Dewayne Dedmon and Ömer Yurtseven splitting minutes into all five. The Bucks dominated the cup on the night, rebounding the Heat 57-39.
“We didn’t defend to our best when the ball wasn’t going in,” Heat head coach Erik Spolestra said after the game.
“When we’re at our best defensively, regardless of what the scheme is, we always give ourselves a chance.”
With their defense struggling, Miami needed to put points on the board, but they got off to a slow start, were scoreless for the first four minutes of the game and quickly found them trailing by double digits at the end of the first quarter.
Thanasis took on the role of Giannis by throwing it into the baseline.
Thanasis throws it 😤@Bucks NBA League Pass Leader: https://t.co/V0kkYEEIkG pic.twitter.com/sfFuUQJ1DB
– NBA (@NBA) December 5, 2023
Prior to Adebayo’s injury, the Heat had a 103.1 defensive rating with Adebayo on the court. Not only is that the best on the team among players averaging at least 20 minutes per game, but that number would have also ranked second best in the league.
On the other hand, when Adebayo sits down, the Heat’s defensive rating drops to 107.9, which would rank 15th in the league. It is also a number that is the best of a team among players who average at least 20 minutes per game.
This game is only the sixth time, in 24 games, that the Miami franchise has allowed more than 110 points and only the second time this season that it has yielded more than 120 points, tonight being the most points it has allowed. throughout the season. .
Defense has been the calling card for this Heat roster, so they can survive with their big man, who was not only making a solid case for Defensive Player of the Year, but also playing a huge role in the sixth. best offense in the league (110.9 ORTG).
Time will tell how this Miami team recovers from this adversity.