Bam Adebayo ended Sunday’s game between the Heat and Nets with a bang, draining a midrange jump shot as time expired and giving Miami a 109-107 victory.
The buzzer-beater capped off a terrific all-around performance from Adebayo, who finished with 21 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and two steals in 33 minutes. That shot represented the work Adebayo has put in to become much more than just a rim-rolling athlete. The 23-year-old has already made tremendous strides early in his career and shown he will be an offensive force in the league for quite some time.
And yet, Adebayo’s display on the defensive end in that contest was even more impressive than his crunch-time heroics, particularly his work against Brooklyn star Kyrie Irving. Adebayo limited Irving to zero — yes, that’s zero — field goals when facing him as the primary defender, per ESPN Stats and Info. Keep in mind Irving is averaging 27.3 points per game this season while approaching 50-40-90 shooting splits (field goals, 3-pointers and free throws).
Along with the buzzer-beater, Bam Adebayo held the Nets to 3-17 shooting as the primary defender today.
Kyrie Irving was 0-8 when guarded by Bam. pic.twitter.com/wySl1M1FWa
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 18, 2021
This was not a case of a misleading stats. Adebayo found himself guarding Irving in isolation situations throughout the game, including on the Nets’ final offensive possession.
Adebayo consistently stayed down in a stance, mirrored Irving’s movements and contested without fouling.
Forcing one of the game’s most creative scorers into tough attempts may not fit as neatly into a highlight reel as a game-winning shot, but that’s what made Adebayo’s jumper possible in the first place.