Dwyane Wade knew all about Bam Adebayo’s potential the first time he saw him play as a pro. Wade’s first two games playing alongside the rookie big man have only reinforced that notion.
“Bam can jump out the gym. Find a way to throw it real high and make him want to go get it,” Wade said. “The kid is good, and as he continues to learn the game and has more time on the floor, it’s going to be real, real, real special.”
Wade’s alley-oop to Adebayo accounted for two of the rookie’s points against Toronto on a night Adebayo had 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and led the Heat in plus/minus at plus-seven in 25 minutes.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra did not play Hassan Whiteside and Adebayo together at all in Tuesday’s 115-112 loss in Toronto. Wade sees considerable potential with that pairing.
“I think it’s a great combination to have Whiteside and Bam; they play different,” Wade said. “You can’t ask Whiteside to play like Bam or vice versa. They just play different, and it’s a good combination to have two bigs that can affect the game like those two can.”
Whiteside and Adebayo have played just 46 minutes together, and the Heat has been outscored by 16 points in those minutes.
Wade liked what he saw from Adebayo when Adebayo scored 19 points on 7-for-7 shooting in a Cleveland win in November.
“He was dunking on everybody,” Wade said after that game. “That’s how athletic you got to be to make things up in mid-air.”
THIS AND THAT
Toronto All-Star guards DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry praised the Heat after Tuesday’s game.
DeRozan: “They can go extremely small and are very athletic, quick and they play extremely hard. With the combination of all those things, well-coached as well. They showed it [Tuesday] and every time we play them, they show it.”
Said Lowry: “It’s a hard-playing team. You have to tip your hat to what they do in there. How aggressive they stay.”
▪ Toronto coach Dwane Casey said the Heat’s addition of Wade is “a great confidence-boost for them. It’s like the big brother on your shoulder whispering in your ear. He’s still effective on the floor. He’s probably more of a facilitator now as much as anything else. Every once in awhile he gets a flashback to the old Dwyane Wade.
“He has a standard for that team that he’s played in that I’m sure he’s helping coach in the locker room, which is huge for a team like that. He’s invaluable. He’s coming back home, he wants to be there and that’s a smart move for their franchise to bring him back.”
▪ Casey will coach guard Goran Dragic in Los Angeles on Sunday during the All-Star Game.
“He’s one of the tough competitors in our league, a tough-minded guy,” Casey said of Dragic. “One of the guys who’s made a lot out of his career. He’s made himself into a great NBA player. He’s one of the tough left-handed point guards.
“He reminds me of Gail Goodrich of the old Lakers just the way he goes. You know he’s going left. He may go right a couple of dribbles but he’s coming back left and he’s just an old-school my kind of point guard. I was glad to see [him make the All-Star team as an injury replacement]. He’s an elite point guard in our league.”
Goodrich was a five-time All-Star, with all of those appearances coming as a Los Angeles Laker.
▪ The Raptors won on Tuesday despite being outshot and outrebounded by the Heat. Miami topped Toronto in field-goal percentage (48.8 to 46.7), free-throw percentage (84.2 to 78.3) and three-point percentage (41.4 to 37.1), and the Heat also corralled 11 more rebounds than Toronto (51 to 40).
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Raptors had gone 0–66 over the last 10 seasons in games that their opponent held the advantage in all four of those categories, dating to a December 2007 win against the Clippers.
Per Elias, the only other teams this season to win a game in which they were outshot (from the field, free-throw line and three-point line) as well as outrebounded are the Magic (December 3 at New York), Timberwolves (December 18 versus Portland) and Nets (January 12 at Atlanta).
▪ Josh Richardson is one of just five players to record at least 70 steals and block at least 50 shots this season. The others: LeBron James, Andre Drummond, Giannis Antetokounmpo and DeMarcus Cousins.
• Here are a lot of notes, quotes, thoughts and takewaways from the Heat’s loss in Toronto on Tuesday, including one Heat player being very hard on himself.