Bam Adebayo has been, perhaps, the best overall player in the Eastern Conference finals so far. Entering Game 5, he was averaging 21 points, 11 rebounds and 4.5 assists on over 60 percent shooting while anchoring Miami's stellar defense against Boston. In a season-long coronation of Adebayo as a superstar, this series has, for the most part, been his masterpiece.
But the potential Game 5 clincher didn't exactly go according to plan. Miami, after leading by as many as 12 points in the first half, lost the second half by 20 points and the game by 12, and Adebayo was quick to take responsibility. "This game is on me," Miami's All-Star big man told reporters after Game 5. "I played terrible. That can't happen. I know that. I feel like I let my teammates down."
The numbers don't quite agree with Adebayo on that front. While his 13 points were a bit low, they were hardly out of the ordinary given his regular-season performance, and no team will ever scoff at eight rebounds and eight assists from a big man. Miami's problems came primarily on defense, though, the unit that Bam leads. The Heat allowed the Celtics to score 70 points in the second half of Game 5, pushing Boston to 121 in total. That is the most the Celtics have scored in a game this series, and the second-most they've scored in a regulation game this postseason.
It should be noted that Adebayo aggravated a pre-existing wrist injury late in Game 4 and had to play through pain on Friday. It is unclear how severe the injury is, but the simplest explanation for any decline in performance would be that wrist.
The Heat still firmly control the Eastern Conference finals. While the Denver Nuggets have overcome two separate 3-1 deficits this postseason, the practice is hardly common. Even after losing Game 5, the Heat have two more chances to close Boston out and advance to the NBA Finals. They'll need Adebayo at his best to get there, but one game isn't enough of a concern to suggest they won't have him.