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Can the Heat’s defense survive without Adebayo?

Can the Heat's defense survive without Adebayo?

In the middle of Wednesday, the Heat announced that Bam Adebayo suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb. The statement said it was an injury suffered by the big man in Monday’s game against the Denver Nuggets.

Reports suggest the Heat’s All-Star’s schedule is between four and six weeks, which is sure to be a trying time for the Miami franchise expected to be among the contenders for the Eastern Conference.

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The team’s schedule without Adebayo started on Wednesday itself and it didn’t go well as the Heat hosted the Cavaliers.

Cleveland, missing their fair share of starters, dominated the contest at the FTX Arena as Miami adjusted without their two All-Stars as Jimmy Butler also missed this one with a tailbone injury.

The Cavaliers, who had six players scoring in double digits, won by a margin of 26 points (111-85). The visitors shot 54.4% from the field, 51.6% from beyond the arc and 91.3% from the free throw line. while recording 14 amazing blocks.

“The guys have to step up. Not just the big guys, but the guards have to bounce back,” Tyler Herro said after the game after the Heat were passed 46-28.

“They’ve got a bunch of guys who can swallow you up when you get to some tough areas on the floor. I have to be better at that, it will be the next game. We have to bounce back.

Prior to this game, the Heat had a defensive rating of 103.1 with Adebayo in the field. It’s not only the team’s best among players averaging at least 20 minutes per game, but that number would have also ranked second in the league.

The win, Cleveland’s third in a row, means a lot. It is the first franchise in Miami in almost 12 years. It was the team’s first victory against the Heat in South Beach since January 2010.

Here’s a look at the starters in the last win:

Since 2010, the Cavaliers have gone 0-20 against the Heat in Miami, including the four years from 2014 to 2018 when they made it to the NBA Finals after LeBron James returned.

On the other hand, when Adebayo is seated, the Heat’s defensive rating plummets to 107.2 who would rank 14th in the league. It’s also a number that is a team’s best among players averaging at least 20 minutes per game.

This game is only the fourth time, in 22 games, that the Miami franchise has allowed more than 110 points.

Defense seemed to be the calling card for this Heat roster, so can they survive with their big man, who not only was a strong advocate for Defensive Player of the Year but also plays a huge role in the sixth best offense in the league.

Time will tell how this Miami team rallies to this adversity.

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