Nikola Jokic Explains ‘Pleasure to Battle Against’ Heat Star Bam Adebayo

Bam Adebayo, Nikola Jokic

Getty Bam Adebayo, Nikola Jokic

The Denver Nuggets beat the Miami Heat in a rematch of the 2023 NBA Finals on February 29. After beating the Heat 103-97, two-time MVP Nikola Jokic talked about how much he enjoys going up against Heat center Bam Adebayo.

“I think he’s really effective in everything that he does. He can guard 1 through 5. He’s the glue guy and the guy that is leading them. It’s always a pleasure to battle against him,” Jokic said, per Mile High Sports’ Ryan Blackburn’s X account.

Though the Nuggets came away with the victory, Bam Adebayo did his part against Jokic. The All-Star center put up a statline of 18 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists while shooting six-for-15 from the field.

With the loss, the Heat are 33-26, which places them as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. That may place them low, but 1.5 games separates them from the No. 4 seed, the New York Knicks. With 23 games left, the Heat have plenty of time to make up some ground.

Should everything go the Heat and Nuggets’ way this coming postseason, they may very well meet up again in the NBA Finals.

Damian Lillard Names Bam Adebayo in Chosen Starting Five

Damian Lillard wanted to join the Heat, which he confirmed in an interview with Andscape’s Marc J. Spears in an August 24, 2023 story. While he wound up on the Bucks, Lillard revealed his interest in playing next to Bam Adebayo while talking with TikTok influencer “nelsontheprodigy_.”


Q&A with my guy Dame Lillard🔥 Dame 9 coming soon👀 @adidas #adidasbasketball #createdwithadidas

♬ original sound – Nelson

“It would be me, LeBron (James), Steph(en Curry), Kevin Durant, and I’m gonna go with Bam Adebayo,” Lillard said.

Lillard played with Adebayo and Durant on the USA Men’s Basketball Team in 2021 during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The three of them helped the USA win the Gold Medal. It’s notable that Lillard also did not name any of his Bucks teammates or former Trail Blazers teammates. That may be because Lillard already plays with them.

Bam Adebayo Responds to Damian Lillard’s Comments

Bam Adebayo caught wind of Lillard’s comments. In fact, he initially responded to Lillard’s wishes to join forces via his X account.

“Out of all the dudes he could have chosen, he chose me,” Adebayo told the Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang in a February 27 story. “I feel like it’s respect for what I do, how I’ve improved over this year and from where I started.”

Chiang then revealed that Lillard’s desire to team up with Adebayo stems from their friendship formed during their time in the Olympics together. Lillard also told Chiang he believes that his his time in the Olympics helped him gain respect from his NBA peers.

“I feel like just understanding what I bring to the table, that I can impact winning,” Adebayo said. “Even though they say, ‘Oh, he’s undersized,’ or whatever the case may be. ‘He’s still impacting winning at the highest level no matter who they play against or who he plays against.’”

Adebayo is a multi-time All-Star who has been to the NBA Finals multiple times. He has established himself as one of the league’s better defenders since coming into the NBA in 2017. Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry came to play with him, and maybe Lillard being next isn’t out of the question.

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