Jun 4, 2023; Denver, CO, USA; Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) reacts in the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets in game two of the 2023 NBA Finals at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

“Everybody thinks basketball is always supposed to be pretty… That’s not how we do it,”

“It’s rugged, it’s in the mud, it’s nasty basketball”

Says Heat big man Bam Adebayo.

Underdog Miami’s chances of overcoming the odds and beating the favored Nuggets will hinge on big man Bam Adebayo’s success in containing dynamic Denver center Nikola Jokic, his teammates said on Tuesday, June 6 (Wednesday, June 7, Kigali time).

The series shifts from high-altitude Denver to the humid beaches of Miami after the Heat pulled off a gutsy fourth-quarter comeback win on Sunday to even the series at 1-1.

“Bam has been playing incredibly well this entire playoffs, for sure this series, and this one he got the toughest matchup by far on the defensive side of the ball,”

“And on the offensive end, he’s doing everything for us. We need him to continue to be that.

“Like I said, he’s going to be the reason why we win a championship.”

Heat forward Jimmy Butler told reporters on Tuesday.

Adebayo said the key to guarding two-time MVP Jokic was limiting his passing, a bright spot for the Heat in Game 2 where the Serb scored 41 points but was held to just 4 assists.

The Heat squeaked into the playoffs as the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed and have since been giant slayers, taking down the top-seeded Bucks, the Knicks, and the Celtics with gritty team wins to reach the finals.

Adebayo offered no apologies for their gritty style.

“Everybody thinks basketball is always supposed to be pretty, it’s supposed to be fluid,”

“That’s not how we do it. It’s rugged, it’s in the mud, it’s nasty basketball. We don’t care how it looks. It gets wins.”

He said.

More than anything, Adebayo and the Heat are motivated by the opportunity to atone for their Finals loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA bubble in 2020.

“Just sitting there, seeing the confetti fall and none of this is for us,”

“And you walk back into the locker room. That was a gut punch.”

He said, shaking his head.

Game 3 is on Wednesday, June 7 in Miami (Thursday, June 8, Kigali time).

Source: Reuters

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