Bam Adebayo

Getty Images

Three Things to Know: Trae Young’s ‘painful’ ankle sprain will hurt Hawks

1 Comment

Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.

1) It’s going to be a painful for the Hawks without Trae Young. After the game, Trae Young described his sprained ankle as “painful.”

We all knew that when it happened — it made you a little queasy to watch it.

Young’s ankle is going to be painful for the Hawks until he gets back.

The Hawks have been 22.5 points per 100 possessions better this season when Young is on the court. Or, put in raw numbers, Atlanta is +28 when Young has been on the court this season and -24 when he has sat.

If you need more proof of just how critical Young is to Atlanta, just watch what happened against Miami, where it was basically an even game when Young was in, but not too long after he went down the Heat went on an 11-0 run and never looked back, winning 112-97.

Miami got Jimmy Butler back and he had 21 points on 5-of-11 shooting, attacking the rim and getting to the line 15 times. It opened up the Heat offense. Butler thanked Heat fans — and Bam Adebayo is already joking around with Butler on Twitter.

Miami also had a big night from its rookies, Tyler Herro had 29 points and Kendrick Nunn added 17 as the starter in the backcourt with Butler. More on them later.

For Atlanta, they await the MRI of young’s ankle that will come on Wednesday.

The Hawks are without backup point guard Evan Turner (left Achilles pain), which means it’s a combination of just-claimed-off-waiver Tyrone Wallace, second-year man Kevin Huerter, and rookies Cam Reddish and De’Andre Hunter, to handle the guard spots for the Hawks.

We all hope Young is back soon, the game is just more fun when he plays.

2) Anthony Davis put up 40 points and 20 rebounds — in three quarters. Other players have put up 40/20 lines before — Shaq was the last Laker to do it, back in 2003 — but Davis set a record when he did it against Memphis Tuesday:

He’s the first player to score 40 points and grab 20 rebounds in three quarters.

Davis was attacking and aggressive, which drew a lot of fouls — he was 26-of-27 from the free-throw line on the night. Consider this: Davis had 20 third-quarter points and was 1-of-1 from the field. It was all at the stripe.

Memphis hung around in this one for a half, behind impressive rookie Ja Morant who had 16 points on the night. Memphis even led in the third quarter until Davis fueled a 29-2 Lakers run that essentially ended the game.

The Lakers did what good teams should do the last couple of games and feast on weaker opponents (Charlotte and Memphis will be near the bottom of the league this season). Now they head out on the road for three and that will be a better test.

3) Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro are not your average rookies in Miami. Pat Riley and the Miami Heat don’t lean on rookies. This is an organization that trusts veterans, stockpiling them through free agency or via trades, and when the Heat do land in the lottery or get a rookie they like they bring the guy along slowly.

Until this season.

The combination of undrafted Kendrick Nunn and first-round sharpshooter Tyler Herro not only started the first three games but also have been crucial to what Miami is able to do — they are combining for 37.3 points per night through four games. Nunn and Herro are key reasons the Heat are 3-1 to start the season.

Both started the first three games of the season — the first time the Heat started two rookies in a game since Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers in 2008 — until Jimmy Butler returned on Tuesday. Herro went to the bench, yet still led the team with 29 points.

Herro was a player fans knew, a star at Kentucky who was drafted No. 13 overall last June. He impressed at Summer League and going into training camp it was easy to envision a role for him next to Butler and Goran Dragic as a floor spacer.

Nunn was the surprise. He went undrafted in 2018 and paid his dues for a season in the G-League before the Heat signed him on the final day of the regular season. Nunn impressed at Summer League, in workouts around the team, and at age 24 is now starting in front of Goran Dragic for the Heat.

Both rookies are playing with confidence. And when you combine Herro and Nunn with 22-year-old Bam Adebayo and 23-year-old Justise Winslow, suddenly the future in Miami looks bright. That’s a lot of quality young players.

Ones that could well lift the Heat back to the playoffs this season (thanks to a little help from that Butler guy, too).

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s tip-in forces overtime, where Bam Adebayo block keys Heat win

Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Milwaukee was in complete charge in their home opener against Miami, leading by double digits most of the second and third quarters and by as much as 21. The game seemed all but over.

Then the fourth quarter came — and Miami was not ready to go home.

The Bucks seemed to take their foot off the gas and went cold, missing nine straight threes while the Heat went on a 20-5 run, putting up 39 points in the fourth and knocking down six threes. Eventually, Miami took the lead and control down the stretch, Milwaukee was stunned and the Heat just had to hit their free throws to secure the win…

Except they didn’t. Bam Adebayo missed one, then Justise Winslow missed two gift ones (after a rebounding foul by Robin Lopez where he just turned and pushed Winslow rather than box out) and it left the Heat a chance, down 121-119 with three seconds left. The ball goes to All-Star Khris Middleton, who goes up for a contested three to win it, and in flies Giannis Antetokounmpo to save the day.

Most players spectate on those shots. Antetokounmpo didn’t. Kelly Olynyk did rather than put a body on Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Once in overtime things seemed to keep going the Heat’s way, where four Adebayo free throws had the Heat ahead, and then Antetokounmpo fouled out. That’s two straight games the Greek Freak has fouled out, but this time his teammates did not bail him out. He finished with 29 points, 17 rebounds, and nine assists.

Milwaukee had a chance late. Down three 19.6 seconds left, Goran Dragic missed two free throws, Eric Bledsoe got the rebound on the second one, raced down the court, thought he had an uncontested dunk — and then Adebayo flew in.

That block essentially sealed the win, although Middleton got a look to send it to a second overtime and missed.

Dragic led the Heat with 25 points, Adebayo had 19 points and 13 rebounds. Middleton had 25 for the Bucks, and Kyle Korver had 14 off the bench.

That is a quality win for Miami, who was without Jimmy Butler (with his family for the birth of his child). It’s a punch to the gut loss for the Bucks.

Report: Heat treating Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo as ‘untouchable’ in trade talks

Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

The Heat want stars.

They got one this summer in Jimmy Butler. Miami’s next star could come from within – Bam Adebayo and/or Tyler Herro, who has generated buzz this preseason.

Sean Deveney of Heavy:

“They’ve been firm on him and (Bam) Adebayo being untouchable,” one GM told before Herro’s explosive night. “Maybe they would move off of that as the season goes on, but as it stands, they think they’ve got the second coming of Klay Thompson offensively. They have not had a lot of useful guys on rookie contracts in past years and that’s killed their cap. They’ve got two now, they don’t want to let them go.”

I doubt Herro and Adebayo are totally untouchable. If the right star became available, Miami could change its stance. But that wasn’t Russell Westbrook. Bradley Beal? We’ll see if the Wizards ever make him available.

The No. 13 pick in this year’s draft, Herro is an excellent shooter with plenty of range. But Klay Thompson comparisons look off base. A large part of Thompson’s value is his defense. Herro has a long way to go to prove he’s not a defensive liability. (To be fair to the Heat, this is just some anonymous GM. He’s not necessarily conveying an assessment from Miami.)

Adebayo has looked good in his two NBA seasons. But the level of play for centers across the league is so high. It’s a tough position for creating value.

The Heat should be pleased to have both players. But they also can’t rest on their laurels and assume Herro and Adebayo will develop into prominent players on a contender.

Reports: Heat extend Erik Spoelstra’s contract four years

Pedro Portal/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Talk to other NBA coaches about who impresses them as a coach in the league and Erik Spoelstra’s name comes up early and often. It’s not that he’s won a couple of rings, it’s getting the most out of the players he has, turning around the careers of “reclamation project” guys by putting them in good positions with smart schemes, and having a team that always works hard and is difficult to play against.

Pat Riley and Heat ownership know what they’ve got, and they have reached terms on a four-year contract extension for Spoelstra, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Spoelstra, who would have been entering the final season of his deal, quietly negotiated a new contract that allows him to continue as the league’s second-longest-tenured active coach with one team, trailing only San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich.

Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel confirmed the news.

Spoelstra has a 523-363 (.590) career regular-season record, which includes eight playoff appearances and a couple of titles.

Spoelstra will coach an interesting Heat team this season, one that missed the playoffs last season with 39 wins, but added Jimmy Butler and have everyone healthy. Miami also has a couple of tradable players on expiring contracts and will be in the mix if and when some big names become available via trade. The Heat need a big season out of Bam Adebayo (he’s the starting center now) as well as Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters and others. Miami looks like a playoff team again, and you know with Spoelstra coaching them the Heat will be a tough out in the postseason.

Bam Adebayo gets crushed by Kobayashi in burger eating contest

Getty Images

We got word earlier this week that Miami Heat big man Bam Adebayo would be going head-to-head against competitive eating champion Kobayashi in a burger eating contest.

That contest date has come and gone, and it doesn’t look like Adebayo did very well against the Japanese professional.

In fact, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Adebayo just one burger in the time it took for Kobayashi to eat sixteen.


Via Sun Sentinel:

“It’s kind of like a high school player against LeBron,” Adebayo said. “It’s kind of an automatic loss.

“Bro, this is his profession. I eat one burger in 15 minutes.”

It didn’t take Adebayo quite that long, but Kobayashi already has consumed 16 burgers before Adebayo finished the first of the six burgers on his plate in the five-minute contest.

“They definitely should have sent Meyers,” he said of recently added Heat center Meyers Leonard. “He’s one of the guys that’s really into calories.”

Meyers Leonard certainly is one of those guys who could eat a huge amount of food in a short period of time if he was given the opportunity to make it something competitive. In any case, the little burger eating contest raised $2,000 as part of a charity called Feeding South Florida, which took home $100 for each burger Kobyashi consumed.

We get worried that players are going to lose their eating habits over the offseason, but it’s probably good news for Heat fans that Adebayo couldn’t stand up to the challenge.