Miami Heat big men Bam Adebayo described his outstanding clutch block on Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum as the best play of his entire career. The Heat edged out the Celtics 117-114 in overtime to win Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Finals series.
The Heat led 116-114 with few seconds to go left in the game when Tatum drove past Jimmy Butler and attempted to throw down a ferocious dunk -- but his attempt fell short as Adebayo raced from the other side of the pain and blocked the Celtics forward with his right hand at the rim.
"No. 1," Adebayo said, per ESPN. "No. 1. Playoffs, game on the line, No. 1 play." Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said most players wouldn't even attempt to block Tatum's attempt and risk getting put onto a poster.
"That can be a poster dunk and a lot of people won't be willing or aren't willing to make that play and put themselves out there," Spoelstra said. "Jayson Tatum got into the launching pad, and [Adebayo] just made a big-time save for us.
I mean, Tatum did have an angle, and it looked like he had an open lane to the rim, and sometimes when you have, you know, great competition like this, you just have to make plays that you can't even really explain, and that was Bam tonight."
Tatum gives credit to Adebayo
Tatum scored a game-high 30 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. "I was open. He made a great play. That's all it is. He made a good play. Can't do nothing about it." Heat star Butler raved about Adebayo's play after the game.
"It was a huge play," Butler said. "And I would agree with [Magic]. I really would. I think what Bam did to save that game and to make sure that we win it by putting his body on the line, that really is a really great play."
Butler scored 20 points, had five rebounds and five assists. "I think my confidence in my guys grows every single second," Butler said. "Because they're not scared of anything, of any moment, of any team, of any shot.
That's where my confidence is, I've got all the faith in the world in these guys to make sure that we have an opportunity to win. I'm glad I get to be part of the leaders that we have here."