Los Angeles Lakers legend and basketball Hall-of-Fame point guard Magic Johnson witnessed the greatest NBA playoff defensive stop he’s ever seen Tuesday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
After the Miami Heat handed the Boston Celtics their first Game 1 loss of the postseason, 117-114, Heat All-Star center Bam Adebayo received high praise from one of the league’s all-time greatest players. Johnson posted the following on Twitter.
Bam Adebayo’s block on Jayson Tatum’s dunk attempt was the best defensive play I’ve seen ever in the playoffs!!!!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) September 16, 2020
Bam Adebayo Responds To Magic Johnson
Adebayo, who stuffed Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum at the rim with only seconds to spare, committed one of the most impressive playoff swats we’ve seen in a while.
“Magic? Magic. Did ya’ll hear that?” Adebayo asked his teammates standing off to the side waiting for the All-Star center to finish his media session. “You get on that big stage you have to make big plays. I made a big play. Coming from Magic, that’s a great comment from him. Just have to keep getting better throughout the playoffs.”
The defensive play was absurd, especially when you consider the timing of it and the risk involved. An athletic player like Tatum can often shift midair and draw a blatant foul when he sees fit and draw a trip to the line.
Instead, Adebayo trusted his instinct.
“On a play like that, I feel like Jimmy (Butler) knew I was there,” Adebayo said Tuesday night after the win. “He got him (Tatum) to the launching pad, which we teach the whole year and at that point, I had to make a play. It’s the playoffs and I made a great play.”
Miami Heat’s Huge Fourth-Quarter Comeback
Adebayo finished 18 points, 9 assists, and six rebounds. Goran Dragic’s team-high 29 points on 11-of-19 got the Heat rolling offensively along with his outside touch (3-of-6) – which was contagious.
Miami connected on 16 threes. Jae Crowder (5-of-9) and Tyler Herro combined for 7-of-14 from behind the arc.
The Heat continue to make waves throughout these 2020 playoffs, handing Boston its first Game 1 loss of the Celtics’ postseason while grabbing a quick 1-0 lead as the underdog opponent.
“I knew my teammates had my back,” Adebayo said. “Kind of on a string, you know. When I go somebody else has to take my man so we rotate from there.”
It was with that same confidence and grit the Heat managed to wipe out a 14-point deficit in the final frame to force overtime, convert timely buckets in the extra period and draw first blood in their best-of-7 series.
“Those are habits and instincts that he’s willing to put himself out there,” Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra told reporters Tuesday night. “That could be a poster drunk and a lot of people won’t aren’t willing to make that play; put themselves out there. Jayson Tatum was getting to the launching pad. He just made a big-time save for us.
“Tatum did have an angle and it looked like he had an open lane to the rim and sometimes when you have great competition like this you just have to make plays that you can’t even really explain and that was Bam tonight.”