Miami Heat All-Star Bam Adebayo appeared as a guest on teammate Duncan Robinson’s The Long Shot podcast and while the two chatted the team’s playoff run last year, naturally, the most famous play from their series against the Boston Celtics was discussed.
On September 15, Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals went into overtime, and as the clock was about to expire, Celtics All-Star forward Jayson Tatum was about to score a game-tying dunk when Heat’s Bam Adebayo literally flew up and shut him down. The Heat won 116-114.
Adebayo stretched his 6-foot-9 body up as far as it could go to block Tatum’s shot, a move that the 23-year-old said made his two left fingers go dumb. Magic Johnson who called it “the best defensive play I’ve ever seen in the playoffs.”
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On April 16, Adebayo revealed to Robinson that he not only remembers that moment vividly, but he makes sure it stays fresh in Tatum’s mind, too. “I low key still talk s*** to J.T. about it,” Adebayo said. “A lot of us in my draft class grew up together. Like grew up playing AAU together, growing up playing against each other so we all know each other. So we all talk s***.”
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) September 16, 2020
“I still remember the block, it still feels unreal to me,” Adebayo continued. “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. I was like, ‘Oh s***, 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***!’ It’s definitely one of the, I think, Top 3 moments in Heat history.”
Coach Spo Said the Magnitude of Adebyo’s Block Didn’t Hit Until the Next Morning
The power forward’s incredible play wasn’t the only highlight of the Heat’s Eastern Conference playoff series against the Celtics, as Miami eliminated Boston in six games to reach the NBA Finals, but it’s a play that has been memorialized by Miami. A photo of the block is up in the hallway that leads to the Heat locker room.
Aside from Adebayo, no one was more proud than Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra, who said on Tuesday the magnitude of the play didn’t hit him until “probably the next morning. I was working out and the replays were on. And just the context of the game.”
“I just thought it was really fitting for Bam, you know, to have an iconic defensive moment in a playoff series. Because I just think he’s a winning player. And he does it in so many different ways. If Tatum gets that dunk down, they win the game, and you just never know how that can swing a series, one way or another. But he put himself out there and made just an incredible play for our team.”
“It’s bigger than just our history,” Spoelstra continued. “That will go down as one of the more memorable defensive plays in playoff history.”