The Boston Celtics dropped a tough game to the Miami Heat on January 24, blowing a 14-point third-quarter lead and failing to execute on a crucial possession with 20 seconds left on the clock. It marked their second loss in a row, as they lost both of their games on their two-game Florida road trip.
Jayson Tatum put together a great game, but in the final minutes, he and the rest of the Celtics failed to execute on the offensive end. Boston was without four key players – Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Malcolm Brogdon, and Al Horford – and after the game, Heat big man Bam Adebayo spoke about the importance of Horford.
“Yeah, I feel like Al Horford is is the vet of that team,” Adebayo said via the Jump View YouTube channel when asked whether or not Boston missed Horford in their January 24 matchup. “I feel like he’s their UD [Udonis Haslem], and you can tell that when he’s on the court. He’s directing guys in position, out of position. Getting guys in the huddle, talking to one another, getting them communicating, and having them in the right spots. So I feel like he’s a big key component for their success this year, but also their success from last year.”
With Horford sidelined, Robert Williams was left to carry the load at the center position, with Blake Griffin and Luke Kornet providing backup minutes. For the majority of the contest, Boston was able to get by, but in the final moments, Adebayo and the Heat proved to be too much.
The Heat big man turned things up in the fourth quarter, leading Miami to a huge win. Adebayo played 37:20 and put up some great stats. He ended the night with 30 points, 15 rebounds, an assist, two steals, and a block while shooting 12-of-22 shooting from the floor.
Erik Spoelstra Sounds Off on Jayson Tatum
Meanwhile, Boston’s leading superstar, Tatum, managed to have a solid night, too. He put up 31 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists, but Miami managed to slow him down in the final frame. After the game, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra admitted that he wasn’t sure how they managed to slow down Tatum.
“I don’t know,” Spoelstra told CLNS Media when asked about what worked differently when guarding Tatum later on in the game. “I think we didn’t really make the necessary efforts in the first half. Your scheme is not going to get anything done. It’s the efforts, the discipline, the multiple efforts that you have to make against a very good offensive team with three-point shooting and everything. Our close-outs are better in the second half. Putting bodies in front of him, and then, if he kicked it out, we were able to get to guys quicker than we were to start the game. Basically, every time he wanted to get off it quickly in the first half, it led to a wide-open shot. When we’re at our best, we’re not giving up one pass, one trigger wide-open shots. It was much stingier in that second half. And that’s the inspiration of H[aywood Highsmith], and Gabe [Vincent] was really moving in that zone. And Bam [Adebayo] was just terrific on the back side of it.”
Bam Adebayo Discusses Celtics-Heat Rivalry
Ahead of their game against the Celtics, Miami big man Bam Adebayo spoke to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel about the rivalry between the two teams.
“Obviously, it’s history there from before we were here,” Adebayo said. “And some people still carry that weight, and it’s one of those things that you’ve just got to inherit. Some people just don’t understand it, they don’t get it. But when the Celtics come in we always try to make it a dogfight.”