Bam Adebayo Says Heat Have to Make Joel Embiid 'Overthink' in Series vs. 76ers

Adam WellsApril 29, 2022

MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 26: Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat celebrates a three pointer against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half in Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round at FTX Arena on April 26, 2022 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Miami Heat aren't giving away secrets about their game plan heading into the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers, but star center Bam Adebayo did offer some insight into how they might attack Joel Embiid. 

Speaking to reporters Friday, Adebayo said Miami wants to make Embiid "overthink" things when the Sixers have the ball:

"You're going to have to double him. It's pretty simple. Getting the ball out his hands, making it difficult, just giving him difficult shots. And not letting him get in a rhythm. Keeping it where he's got to think, he's got to overthink. He's got to pass when he doesn't feel like passing. I feel like those are the biggest things."

It's no secret that the 76ers go as Embiid goes. They got some good games out of Tyrese Maxey and James Harden in the first round against the Toronto Raptors, but the All-Star center is the driving force behind everything they do. 

In Philadelphia's losses in Games 4 and 5, Embiid had a total of 41 points on 14-of-31 shooting to go with 19 rebounds, seven assists and nine turnovers. He averaged 29.0 points with a 55.1 field-goal percentage, 12.3 rebounds and 2.8 turnovers per game in the four wins. 

Embiid did tear a ligament in his thumb during the Sixers' Game 3 win over Toronto and will require surgery after the season. He didn't show any effects of the setback in Thursday's clinching Game 6 with 33 points on 12-of-18 shooting and three blocks. 

The Heat do present a very different challenge than the Raptors. Adebayo is arguably the best defensive player in the NBA, despite not being a finalist for the Defensive Player of the Year award. 

Miami may not be at full strength when the series begins. Jimmy Butler missed Game 5 against the Atlanta Hawks with knee inflammation. Kyle Lowry sat out the final two games of the series with a hamstring injury. P.J. Tucker suffered a strained calf earlier this month, though he was able to play all five games against Atlanta. 

Per Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press, Butler and Tucker didn't practice Friday. Their status for the start of the series against the Sixers remains unclear, though Adebayo said he's hopeful Lowry and Butler will be able to play. 

The 76ers and Heat will play Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at FTX Arena on Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET.