Heat’s Bam Adebayo Preparing for ‘Dogfight’ With Celtics in 2024 NBA Playoffs

Andrew PetersApril 20, 2024

MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 19: Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat celebrates scoring a three-pointer against the Chicago Bulls in the third quarter during the Play-In Tournament at Kaseya Center on April 19, 2024 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

Rich Storry/Getty Images

Bam Adebayo and the Miami Heat will see a familiar face in the first round of the NBA playoffs after beating the Chicago Bulls in the play-in tournament Friday night.

The Heat will face the top-seeded Boston Celtics in the first round, whom they have played in three of the last four playoffs. Miami has won two of those three series, including the Eastern Conference Finals matchup last year.

Having played the Celtics a handful of times in the playoffs now, Adebayo knows it’s going to be a tough matchup, and he said he expects a “dogfight,” per ESPN’s Israel Gutierrez.

“It’s gonna be a dogfight,” Adebayo said. “It’s gonna be a battle. It’s gonna be in the mud. It’s not gonna be pretty basketball. That’s usually how it is when we play that team.”

Both teams are defensive-oriented, with the Celtics holding the league’s second-best defensive rating and the Heat having the fifth-best defensive rating, according to NBA.com.

Adebayo, who had a game-winning block against Boston in the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals, will need to have an outstanding performance on both ends to lead his team to an upset win.

Things get more challenging for the Heat if Jimmy Butler is unable to return from injury in the series. The star forward suffered a sprained MCL in Miami’s first play-in game against the Philadelphia 76ers and is expected to miss several weeks, per The Athletic and Stadium’s Shams Charania.

With Butler likely out against Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and the Celtics, Adebayo and the Heat support staff will need to step up in what will be a “dogfight” of a series.

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