Jayson Tatum made a great play. Bam Adebayo just made a greater play.
With the clock winding down in overtime of Game 1 and Miami leading by two, Tatum beat Jimmy Butler off the dribble and had an open lane directly to the rim. He rose up from about seven feet out, and he had one thing on his mind: dunk.
Tatum not only rose up to fly toward the rim, but he also cocked the ball back with his right hand as if picturing a poster slam to send the game to a second overtime session. But at that exact same moment, Adebayo appeared out of nowhere from the weak side with help defense. What happened next was a collision of forces.
Tatum swung the ball forward and it connected with power into Adebayo’s left hand about six inches in front of the rim. Tatum’s force was so strong that the ball, as an above-the-rim angle showcased, still pushed more than halfway over the cylinder while hanging above it.
Adebayo is an All-Defensive Second Team performer who is one of the strongest and most versatile players in the league. It showed on this play.
Somehow, he found enough strength in that left arm to eventually reverse Tatum’s force and block the ball away. He also grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 2.5 seconds left.
Adebayo missed one of his two ensuing free throws, which left the door cracked open for Boston, but Tatum missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer to seal his team’s fate. Thanks to Adebayo’s block – surely one of the best in playoff history – Miami took a 1-0 series lead with a 117-114 victory.
Jayson Tatum had one hell of a Game 1 despite not being able to convert on his biggest shots of the night.
Tatum stuffed the stat sheet with game highs of 30 points and 14 rebounds. He also dished out five assists, grabbed three steals and blocked two shots to tie for the game’s top mark in that category.
This certainly wasn’t Tatum’s best shooting night, as he connected on only 10 of his 24 shots and four of his 12 3-pointers. He misfired on a quality look from long range for a potential game-winner in regulation, and then was blocked by Bam Adebayo during the final seconds of overtime on a potential game-tying dunk.
Those two plays, however, don’t take away from what he did all night.
Remember: this guy is only 22 years old, yet he’s playing at a dominant level in the Eastern Conference Finals. Something tells us that the next time the ball is in his hands for a clutch shot at the end of a game, there will be a different result.
Box Score Nuggets
- Both teams made 21 free throws.
- Boston shot 21-for-23 from the line, good for a 91.3 percent clip.
- Jayson Tatum led the game in both scoring (30 points) and rebounding (14 boards).
- Goran Dragic led the Heat with 29 points.
- Brad Wanamaker led all reserves with 11 points and six rebounds, and led the game with five steals.
- Three Heat players, Dragic, Jae Crowder (22 points) and Jimmy Butler (20 points) reached the 20-point mark.
- Marcus Smart made a game-high six 3-pointers and scored 26 points.
- Miami assisted on 32 of its 40 made baskets.
- The Heat shot a stellar 16-for-36 from long range, good for 44.4 percent.
- Tyler Herro nearly notched a triple-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.
- Herro and Adebayo tied for the game's top mark with nine assists apiece.
- Boston was outscored 48-26 in the paint.
Quote of the Night
I like both shots that I got. I just missed one, and he made a great play at the rim on the second one.
Jayson Tatum on his potential game-winning and game-tying shot attempts