Bucks’ Damian Lillard Doesn’t Hold Back On Heat Star Bam Adebayo

Damian Lillard, Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA News
NBA Analysis Network

Milwaukee Bucks superstar Damian Lillard had high praise for Bam Adebayo after the Bucks knocked the Miami Heat out of the NBA In-Season Tournament. Milwaukee eked out the Nov. 28 showdown with a 131-124 victory over the team that eliminated them from the 2023 playoffs.

Lillard talked to Five Reasons Sports about his relationship with Adebayo and the clear improvement he has seen from the star big man.

“I’m real close with Bam,” Lillard said. “After the game, we shook hands, and I told him ‘you got better.’ I always loved his game, but he actually got better. He knows I wouldn’t just say that … He’s gotten better.”

This season, Adebayo is on pace for the best campaign of his career. Through 15 appearances, the former Kentucky Wildcat has averaged career highs in points, rebounds, free throw percentage, and 3-point percentage.

Bam currently averages 22.2 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.0 blocks. The two-way force has taken over as Miami’s leading scorer for the first time in his career. His dominance has allowed an injury-riddled Heat squad to stay afloat with a 10-8 record.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Damian Lillard, Milwaukee Bucks, Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat Updates

According to Beth Mishler-Elmore of Heavy Sports, Adebayo recorded his tenth double-double of the season against the Bucks. Despite their seven-point loss, the Heat did well to battle without Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, or Haywood Highsmith.

An aggressive Adebayo scored a season-high 31 points and added 10 boards and five assists to his standout performance. Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra praised Bam’s play after the game, per the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

“He was just super assertive,” Spoelstra said. “That’s what we really need from Bam. Bam was relentless all game long, and that just shows his capacity to do it on both ends. There’s no rest for him on the other end.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Damian Lillard, Milwaukee Bucks, Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat Updates

Like Adebayo, Spoelstra and the Miami coaching staff believe in the 26-year-old center’s ability to win the Defensive Player of the Year award. Over the last few seasons, Bam has expressed his DPOY aspirations on multiple occasions. 

Adebayo’s elite defensive versatility could land him in the DPOY race. He ranks top-ten among centers in defended field goal percentage, holding opponents to a mere 43.5% clip from the field. Given the usual size of his nightly assignments and the amount of defensive work he does for Miami, Bam’s defended field goal percentage is beyond impressive.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Damian Lillard, Milwaukee Bucks, Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat Updates

Lillard, the man who gave Bam his flowers, has posted 26.0 points per game during the 2023-24 season. The sharpshooting point guard has not fully activated Dame Time just yet, shooting a lackluster 41.7% from the field and even worse 33.6% from three.

Outside of two seasons ago when Lillard only played 29 contests, this year’s shooting percentages represent career lows for the All-Star point guard. Despite Milwaukee’s 13-5 record, Lillard only holds a total plus-minus of +19 across 16 contests. 

The Heat will get a rematch with the Bucks on Feb. 13 in Milwaukee. Lillard and Adebayo will certainly look forward to that matchup.

Analysts Praise New York Knicks After Win vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Throughout the NBA season, several games will stick out to teams as potential turning points. For the New York Knicks, Sunday evening against the Cleveland

Los Angeles Clippers Face Brutal Russell Westbrook Injury Update

One of the reasons that the Los Angeles Clippers have found so much success during the 2023-24 NBA regular season has been their ability to

Chris Paul Claims Daryl Morey Lied To Him About Thunder Trade

Being traded is something that Golden State Warriors point guard Chris Paul has become all too familiar with during his NBA career. He has played