The new-and-improved Miami Heat will be back in action Thursday night when they take on the Orlando Magic. Barring any unexpected hiccups, it would seem that the February 23 matchup will mark Kevin Love‘s Heat debut.
Miami’s addition of Love is expected to make things easier for star center Bam Adebayo. The 34-year-old’s 3-point shooting ability should provide Adebayo with some extra breathing room in the paint.
Love spoke with reporters Wednesday, sharing his excitement about sharing the floor with Adebayo.
“He’s one of those guys, I just love his game,” he told the media. “I love what he is about. I love how he impacts winning.”
What’s not to love about Adebayo? He just appeared in his second-career All-Star game and is having a career season for the Heat. The 25-year-old has appeared in 54 of Miami’s 59 games this year, playing 35.4 minutes each time. He’s averaging a career-high 21.6 points per game while shooting 54.4% from the field.
Heat’s Bam Adebayo and Kevin Love’s NSFW Instagram Exchange
The frontcourt duo’s relationship got off to a funny start shortly after Love signed with the Heat.
He had shared some photos of him shooting around at Miami’s practice facility to his Instagram page on Monday.
Adebayo wasted no time, taking a playful jab at his new teammate in the comments section.
“Better make some f***** shots,” he wrote.
Shortly after, Love made his way to the comments to get in the last word.
He clapped back, “better create some f*cking space.”
Before taking his talents to South Beach, Love played in 41 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, before he fell out of the rotation in recent weeks. He averaged 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 20 minutes per game. On the year, Love has shot 38.9% from the field and 35.4% from beyond the arc.
Nets Coach Discusses Neutralizing Heat’s Offense
Miami is riding a two-game losing streak as they head into Love’s potential-debut. The Heat dropped back-to-back games ahead of the All-Star break, losing to both the Denver Nuggets and the Brooklyn Nets.
The loss against the Nets saw Miles Bridges hang a career-high 45 points on the Heat. In addition to that, Brooklyn was able to make things difficult for Miami offensively all night. The Heat knocked down just 45.8% of their attempts from the field and 28.6% of their attempts from beyond the arc.
Following his team’s strong showing, Nets Head Coach Jacque Vaughn discussed his defensive gameplan against the Heat, citing physicality as a main point-of-emphasis.
“We talked about being more physical, more physical in our switching, more physical on the off-ball screens. Just really getting our hands on people,” said via the Brooklyn Nets YouTube channel. “The referees are only can call a certain amount of fouls. So, we just wanted to be more aggressive. I thought we did that. You can see it, just from the dropped balls that they had, the deflections that we had. So, we were able to dictate some things in the second half for sure.”
Miami has struggled all season on the offensive end. They have the 26th best offensive rating in the league at 111.1, and are one of the association’s least efficient teams, knocking down just 45.2% of their attempts from the field, and 33.4% of their shots from 3-point land.
The additional spacing Love is set to provide could supply an offensive spark for the Heat. It’ll certainly be something to watch for once he suits up for Miami.