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Heat’s Adebayo becomes Mr. Reliable for Spoelstra; Butler (knee) not making it to Atlanta – The Denver Post

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Sometimes it is the external conversation that confirms the ascension.

So even beyond the 38 points that Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo put on the visiting Washington Wizards in Friday night’s 110-107 win, what might have resonated even more were the comments of postgame from Wizards center Kristaps Porzingis.

“I don’t remember,” Porzingis said, when he played like that.

Considering Adebayo’s career high is 41, it’s not like there have been many such matches for Adebayo.

But setting career highs with 22 shots, 15 baskets and 30 points in the paint was another sign of a player determined to take a more aggressive approach, which has been a point of attention this season.

“It’s one of those games where he shows his dominance over a big one, and it’s both ends of the court,” point guard Kyle Lowry said, with the Heat focusing on Sunday’s 5 p.m. game against the Atlanta Hawks at the start of a four-game road trip. “But we don’t want him to have to do it every night, but it’s great to see him. When he can do it, it makes our lives easier.”

For coach Erik Spoelstra, it was another example of Adebayo providing what is needed, in this case with Jimmy Butler, Max Strus, Gabe Vincent and Duncan Robinson out on Friday night with injuries, and with Lowry, Caleb Martin and Jamal Cain dealing with a bug that’s been making the rounds in the locker room.

“Bam was Mr. Reliable,” Spoelstra said. “He’s been Mr. Reliable all season, through all the adversity. He is the guy on whom we have just been able to count, with his mental stability, his consistency, his leadership, and also his play on both sides of the field.

“I think at some point I’ll print the shirt, ‘Mr. Reliable’ and wear them proudly.

Adebayo had none of that, but he took what wizards gave him.

“It was one of those things where my teammates were giving me the ball,” he said, “and I was just taking advantage of the mismatch and the shots they were letting me have.”

While draining a series of floats on 7-foot-3 Porzingis.

“I mean, I worked on my touch, my trick shots, I played horse and I just practiced those types of range shots,” Adebayo said.

Adding 12 rebounds, Adebayo passed Dwyane Wade for fifth in the Heat’s career double-double at 127. Next up is teammate Udonis Haslem at 134. The Heat’s all-time leaders are Rony Seikaly at 221, Alonzo Mourning at 205 and Hassan Whiteside. at 185.

“They wanted him to be aggressive early on, and he did, and it worked out well for him,” Porzingis said.

injury report

Butler (knee) didn’t travel with the team on Saturday, but the expectation (or at least the hope) is to join the team perhaps for Wednesday’s game against the Boston Celtics.

The only other player who hasn’t traveled is center Omer Yurtseven, who is recovering from ankle surgery. It means Victor Oladipo, sidelined since pre-season with knee discomfort, is on the road with the team again.

Directly

Given the chance of a two-shot foul against Bradley Beal in a three-point game late Friday, Martin said there was no thought but to play straight, with Beal with a potential of 26 feet back. 3 points with 1.2 seconds remaining.

“I didn’t really think about fouls,” Martin said. “I take pride in trying to get saves. As a defender, these are the type of matchups and situations you crave – play down the line, take on a guy like Bradley Beal with the ball, clock running late. These are the types of pieces I dream of.

Martin finished with 20 points in the win, giving him back-to-back 20-point games for the first time in his four-season career, after scoring 24 in Wednesday’s home win over the Wizards.

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