Joel Embiid Sounds Off on Heat Star Bam Adebayo: ‘Very Annoying’

Bam Adebayo, Joel Embiid

Getty Bam Adebayo battled a masked Joel Embiid for the second time after seeing him in the 2018 NBA playoffs.

Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo was a force to be reckoned with in Game 1 and Game 2. He averaged 23.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game while shooting 89% from the field. He was utterly dominant in those first two contests, thanks to his bullying of DeAndre Jordan and Paul Reed.

Not in Game 3. It was a completely different story for Adebayo when going up against Joel Embiid. The masked crusader asserted his dominance on the defensive end and put the one-time All-Star in prison. Adebayo finished with just 9 points and 3 rebounds on 2-for-9 shooting. It was an assignment Embiid took great pride in after watching the Heat star dominate his team early in the series. The Sixers star took it personally.

“It was very annoying just watching,” Embiid said of Adebayo after Game 3. “Obviously, we didn’t make shots, but we also made a lot of mistakes. Whether it was offensive rebounding or turnovers. Their big fella, Bam [Adebayo], was dominating. And I was really pissed off watching another big man play well against my team. It’s unfortunate. Can’t take it back. Now we’ve just got to focus on the next game.”

Embiid, of course, was a forced spectator in Game 1 and Game 2 as he waited to clear concussion protocol. The Sixers’ MVP candidate was supposed to be on a minutes restriction in Game 3, but he lobbied to play into the fourth quarter. With Embiid back on the floor, the whole complexion of the Heat-Sixers series has changed.

“I feel pretty good,” Embiid said. “It was a struggle [coming back], really because of the concussion and dealing with a bunch of symptoms but I’m glad it went away and I’m back.”

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Adebayo Battled Embiid in 2018 Playoffs

This marks the second time in four years that Adebayo is dealing with a masked Embiid in the postseason. The Heat center was only in his second NBA season when Philadelphia and Miami met in the first round back in 2018. Adebayo came off the bench in that series while averaging 3.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. The Sixers took care of business in five games.

Adebayo learned a lot from that experience and he addressed facing Embiid ahead of Game 3 in 2022. He vowed to be remain aggressive despite the return of arguably the best center in basketball.

“I’ve been competing with Joel for five years now. I still got to be aggressive,” Adebayo told reporters, via the Sun-Sentinel. “That’s part of the game. You see different lineups, you see different personnel and then you’ve just got to adjust your attacks.”

Erik Spoelstra: ‘We’ll Just Have to Figure It Out’

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra didn’t seem too worried about Embiid’s impact after Game 3. Yes, the series has taken on a different feel with the big man’s return but they had anticipated that. According to Spoelstra, it’s just a matter of being “very intentional” on both ends of the floor.

“This is what you have to expect,” Spoelstra told reporters. “He is an MVP-caliber player and he is usually in the running for Defensive Player of the Year, you know you have to be very intentional on both ends. We are not expecting it to be easy, they were a very good team all year, so were we. We are expecting him to be available all series and we’ll just have to figure it out.”

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