Bam Adebayo and the Miami Heat ended last season with the best record in the Eastern Conference. However, the Heat haven’t yet found that level to begin the 2022-23 campaign. Through 22 games, the Heat have gone 10-12, their latest loss a 134-121 defeat at the hands of the fledging Boston Celtics. Jayson Tatum, in particular, had his way with the Heat all night long, as he exploded for a season-high 49 points to lead the way.
But Bam Adebayo feels that the Heat were especially hard done by the referees given the free-throw disparity. In game where both teams shot well from the field, every bit of advantage mattered, and the Celtics ended up scoring 11 more points than the Heat from the foul line, almost matching the exact lead the Celtics had in their win. Jayson Tatum, in particular, shot more free throws than the entire Heat team did for the night, as the Celtics star went 11-12 from the charity stripe.
Thus, Adebayo’s frustrations boiled over after the game and he put the officials on blast for such an inexplicable disparity.
“It’s hard to get a team out of flow when we shoot only 9 free throws and they shoot 23. I feel like that’s the deciding factor right there. If we shoot 18 total free throws, we win the ball game. Our team is shooting a total of nine free throws and we’re one of the teams that live in the paint, and you’re telling me we only shoot nine? Come on, man,” Adebayo said, per the Miami Herald.
Bam Adebayo, one of the most solid finishers in the league in the paint, ended up with 23 points on 10-19 shooting. However, he only had two free-throw attempts, making both of them, despite banging with the likes of Al Horford and Grant Williams all night long. Head coach Erik Spoelstra backed Adebayo’s sentiments 100 percent after the game.
“He had every right to be frustrated in terms of how he was attacking and not getting some of those hand checking calls. It’s tough to not foul him when he goes aggressive and strong. That last play he had his jersey yanked out and it wasn’t a call and he had [enough after] six or seven of those plays. I felt his frustration as well,” Spoelstra said.
Nevertheless, Jimmy Butler’s eventual return should at least swing the free-throw game back towards the Heat’s favor. Butler would have ranked ninth in free-throw attempts per game had he been qualified for the leaderboards. But with the uncertainty regarding their talisman’s status, Adebayo, knowing that they must hold down the fort as Jimmy Butler recuperates, may be justified with his frustrations.