Given the fact that both teams are currently fighting to avoid a play-in scenario in the Eastern Conference, it’s easy to forget that the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat were duking it out for a spot in the NBA Finals just seven months ago.
That said, at least some of the Boston faithful probably wouldn’t mind letting it fade from memory.
It was a triumphant moment for Miami — the plucky No. 5 seed riding an unexpected wave to a final showdown with LeBron James and the LA Lakers for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. For the Celtics, though, it marked the third time in four years that the team had come up short despite being so agonizingly close to getting a title shot.
The lingering effects of the letdown are worse for Jayson Tatum, though.
As revealed on Duncan Robinson’s podcast, the Heat’s star big man, Bam Adebayo, has no intention of letting Tatum forget about it.
Quite to the contrary, he reminds the Celtics’ franchise cornerstone of the series’ signature play every chance he gets.
The Block That Set the Tone
The Heat held a two-point lead over the Celtics at 116-114 with the final seconds ticking away during Game 1 of the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals. Fully aware of the gravity of the situation, a driving Tatum beat out multi-time All-Star Jimmy Butler with a hard charge to the hoop.
All he has to do was finish the play to secure a second overtime. Instead, Adebayo swooped in from the weak side and somehow managed to turn back Tatum’s dunk attempt with only his fingertips. He did this despite the fact that Tatum was fully on top of the rim.
As a result, Miami stole the game from third-seeded Boston. The Heat went on to win the series 4-2, punching their ticket to the NBA Finals in the process.
During his appearance on The Long Shot Podcast, Adebayo told his Heat teammate that he’s still letting Tatum hear about his epic block.
“I haven’t forgot about it, because I low-key still talk s**t to JT about it,” he said.
He further explained that the longstanding relationship he and Tatum share has necessitated the trash talk.
“Like, a lot of us in my draft class grew up together. Grew up playing AAU together, grew up playing against each other,” said Adebayo. “We all know each other. So, we all talk s**t.”
Tatum isn’t the only one feeling the backlash from the block, though. Adebayo mentioned that he got a mouthful from Tatum’s mom in the wake of Miami’s Game 1 win.
“When it happened, his mom saw me in the bubble and she was like, ‘You know what? I can’t even claim you to be like my second son. I can’t claim you right now because we’re going against you. I can claim you after the playoffs.’ So, that’s kind of like the love we all got for each other.”
Adebayo Recalls the Play
Adebayo went on to share his perspective on the play, which he considers an important moment for the Heat franchise.
“Watching it, it felt way faster than it did in like, actual time. When the block happened, in my mind, it was like, boom, and it was over. That’s why I threw the ball because I had to register what happened,” he said. “I was like, ‘Oh s**t, this is game. Game is over.’ In my mind, I was like, ‘I think we’re going down in history.’”
“If you watch, everybody’s reaction on the bench is delayed. Everybody’s reaction is delayed. It’s a block and then I got the ball and everybody was, ‘Oh s**t!’ It’s definitely one of the, I think, Top 3 moments in Heat history.”