The big man poured in a season-high 36 points on 14-of-21 shooting. He also added seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocks.
Teammate Tyler Herro effused high praise upon the former All-Star after the contest, calling him a “generational talent.”
Tyler Herro on Bam Adebayo:
"Obviously he's a generational talent."
— Brady Hawk (@BradyHawk305) February 27, 2022
Miami needed Adebayo to step up on Saturday after a surprising showing by an inspired Spurs team.
San Antonio was coming off a double-overtime win against the Washington Wizards the night before. Against the Heat, it played without Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson and Jakob Poeltl, its three leading scorers.
Still, the Spurs did not go down without a fight and started strong in the contest. They scored 40 points in the first quarter, matching the most points Miami has allowed in any frame this season.
A Spurs victory would have allowed coach Gregg Popovich to tie Don Nelson for the top spot on the list of the NBA’s winningest coaches.
Instead, Adebayo spoiled his former coach’s attempt at the record. The 24-year-old played for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics, winning a gold medal under Popovich.
Adebayo had plenty of help on Saturday. Herro contributed 27 points off the bench while Jimmy Butler also scored 27 points, playing just 30 minutes.
The win over the Spurs allowed the Heat to move to 40-21, which is good enough for first place in the Eastern Conference. They have a brutal week ahead, as they are set to face three of the best teams in the East.