Adebayo’s swat, which is bound to be replayed on postseason spotlight reels for years to come back, got here after Tatum, Boston’s all-star ahead, attacked the paint exhausting with lower than 10 seconds remaining in time beyond regulation. Trailing 116-114, Tatum drove to his proper previous Jimmy Butler from the highest of the arc, slicing to the ring and leaping off one leg for a right-handed dunk try.
With Tatum rim-bound, Adebayo left Marcus Good within the nook and rotated to his left, ready for Tatum to take off earlier than he rose to problem the shot along with his left hand. Replays confirmed a clear block up prime, with the drive of Tatum’s try bending Adebayo’s left hand again almost into the rim.
“At that time, I needed to make a play,” stated Adebayo, who completed with 18 factors, six rebounds, 9 assists and two blocks. “It’s the playoffs, and I made an excellent play. It’s exhausting to clarify as a result of it occurred so quick for me. Y’all need solutions from me? Instincts, I suppose.”
The ball ricocheted into the air and Adebayo recovered possession, forcing Boston to foul him. Adebayo made 1 of two free throws on the opposite finish to offer the ultimate margin. Jimmy Butler’s and-one drive previous Tatum gave the Warmth its go-ahead factors.
“That may be a poster dunk, and lots of people received’t be prepared or aren’t prepared to make that play and put themselves on the market,” Warmth Coach Erik Spoelstra stated. “Jayson Tatum bought into the launching pad, and [Adebayo] simply made a big-time save for us. Tatum did have an angle, and it appeared like he had an open lane to the rim and generally when you’ve nice competitors like this, you simply must make performs you can’t even actually clarify. That was Bam tonight.”
Tatum completed with a game-high 30 factors, however he missed all seven of his shot makes an attempt within the ultimate seven minutes of regulation and time beyond regulation.
“He made a great play,” Tatum stated, tipping his hat to Adebayo. “Can’t do nothing about it. … I suppose it’s disappointment. You by no means need to lose a recreation. Nevertheless it’s not the top of the world. Better of seven. Simply prepare for Sport 2.”
Adebayo’s clutch block occurred in an almost empty gymnasium within the NBA’s Disney World bubble, but it surely produced a storm of reward on social media. Corridor of Famer Magic Johnson excitedly wrote on Twitter that it was “the perfect defensive play I’ve seen ever within the playoffs!!!!”
“You get on that huge stage, you simply bought to make huge performs,” Adebayo stated when advised of Johnson’s praise. “I made an enormous play. Coming from Magic, that’s an excellent remark from him, and also you simply have gotten to maintain getting higher all through the playoffs.”
Adebayo, a third-year professional who went one-and-done on the College of Kentucky, loved a breakout marketing campaign in his first full yr as a starter, posting profession highs of 15.9 factors, 10.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.three blocks.
“My feelings had been in every single place, however all people else round me was completely satisfied,” Adebayo stated of the Warmth’s joyous response to his memorable block. “That is a kind of issues, it doesn’t hit you till the sport’s over. When it occurred, I used to be wanting on the clock … like, let’s get forward and shut it out. We did that. After that, celebrated, and we’re centered on the following recreation now.”
The East finals will proceed with Sport 2 on Thursday. And the Warmth enjoys a 1-Zero sequence lead because of its defensive anchor.
“That seals the sport for us,” stated Jimmy Butler, who put Miami forward late in regulation with a three-pointer and once more with a three-point play in time beyond regulation proper earlier than Adebayo’s heroics. “I like how he does something and every thing that you simply ask him to do. I actually do. That’s a successful play, placing your physique on the road after which rotating the best way that he did. We discuss it. We undergo it time and again, however Bam’s been our savior on that so many alternative instances all year long.”