The South Florida legend of Bam Adebayo grows.
The 23-year-old Miami Heat star added a new notch to his resume on Sunday, sinking the Brooklyn Nets with his first career buzzer-beater. With 6.9 seconds remaining in a 107-107 game, the Heat center known for his efficiency around the rim faced up Jeff Green on the wing from beyond the 3-point line.
His teammates cleared out to give Adebayo room to work. He rewarded their confidence, dribbling toward the basket before falling back for a 13-footer that Green was helpless to defend. It sunk through the net as the buzzer sounded to cap an 8-0 Heat run and secure the 109-107 win.
Adebayo nearly channeled Dwyane Wade
Adebayo's teammates swarmed him as an appreciative home Heat crowd came to its feet. After sinking Miami's first buzzer-beater since Dwyane Wade's 2019 game-winner over the Golden State Warriors, Adebayo said he was tempted to celebrate like the Heat icon did that day.
But it sounds like he's waiting for a bigger moment.
"I wanted to stand up on the table like D-Wade," Adebayo told ESPN after his 21-point, 15-rebound, five-assist effort. "But not today."
Big game for Eastern Conference standings
With the win, the Heat kept pace with the New York Knicks, who hold a 1.5-game lead over Miami for the coveted sixth spot in the Eastern Conference standings. The sixth seed in each conference is guaranteed a playoff spot, while the seventh seed will be relegated to the play-in games.
The loss also dropped the hobbled Nets 1.5 games behind the Philadelphia 76ers for first place in the conference. Brooklyn, already playing without an injured James Harden, finished the game without Kevin Durant, who left in the first quarter with a thigh contusion.
Wherever the Nets finish in the standings, they'd likely prefer to avoid a first-round playoff matchup with the Heat. Adebayo was a catalyst for Miami's surprise run to the NBA Finals last season. If the Heat are a tough playoff out again in 2021, Adebayo will be a big reason why.
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