Bam Adebayo Has Major Praise For Heat Rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr.

Jaime Jaquez Jr, Miami Heat, NBA News
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

A short-handed Miami Heat squad pulled off an impressive Monday night victory over the Sacramento Kings behind masterclass performances from their NBA All-Star big man Bam Adebayo and their electric rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr.

To say Miami was undermanned would be putting things lightly. The Heat were without Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Terry Rozier, Nikola Jovic, Josh Richardson, and Thomas Bryant. As Erik Spoelstra’s teams have done for years now, the gritty South Beach hoopers leaned on their “next man up” mentality and came through on the road.

Jaquez Jr. dropped 26 points on 12/17 shooting with 20 of his points coming in the second half. The rookie went 9/12 through the last two quarters and finished the contest with almost 38 minutes of playing time. Jaquez Jr. also set a career-high for field goals made and nabbed three steals as well.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Jaime Jaquez Jr, Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat Updates

After the 121-110 victory, Adebayo spoke with Dennis Scott of NBA TV in his on-court interview.

“He’s not a regular rookie, I’ve always said that,” Adebayo said. “He’s well beyond his years, and we’re just gonna keep driving him to be who he is.”

Jaquez Jr. talked to Bally Sports after the game and dedicated Miami’s performance to his teammates who were absent during the win.

“It just took a lot of togetherness,” Jaquez Jr. said. “We had some bodies down. Our game plan was to just come together and win it for those guys who aren’t here with us right now. Shoutout to Niko, Jimmy, TB, all those guys … this is for you.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Jaime Jaquez Jr, Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat Updates

Delon Wright made his Heat debut as a spot starter, running point for Miami and looking good in the process. The newest member of the Heat scored 13 points on only five shot attempts and dished out five assists with zero turnovers. 

In his postgame press conference, Spoelstra praised Wright in a big way.

“The player of the game for us in the locker room was Delon,” Spoelstra said. “He plays winning basketball. He guards. Offensively, he just has a knack for knowing how to make the right play. 35 minutes, didn’t turn the ball over, and made some big plays.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Jaime Jaquez Jr, Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat Updates

Caleb Martin and Haywood Highsmith also stepped up, combining for 31 points on the night. Martin led the team in playing time with over 40 minutes and recorded an impressive +18 plus-minus. Meanwhile, Highsmith nailed six of his nine shot attempts off the bench with 15 points and three steals in 29 minutes.

With the win, the Heat moved up one spot in the Eastern Conference standings to the No. 6 seed. 

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