The Miami Heat face a must-win scenario in the month of November as they face the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday night in the final group play game of the NBA In-Season Tournament. There have been players around the association commenting on the importance of point differential, including Heat center Bam Adebayo who questions it as possibly taking away the respect of the game according to the Miami Herald's Anthony Chiang.
“That's the thing a lot of guys I've been seeing disagree with because if you're up 15 and you're trying to get a point differential with 40 seconds, it takes the integrity from the game,” Adebayo said.
Bam Adebayo on importance of point differential for the In-Season Tournament: "That's the thing a lot of guys I've been seeing disagree with because if you're up 15 and you're trying to get a point differential with 40 seconds, it takes the integrity from the game."
— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) November 28, 2023
Adebayo isn't the only one who acknowledges the point differential as potentially impeding on the “integrity” of the game. Impressive Miami rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. said to ClutchPoints Monday after practice that the questions come into play, but a team has to look at point differential if they want to compete in the inaugural tourney.
“You have to think about it. If you don't, then you don't make the tournament. I don't know what the number is at the moment, but there is one. That's something you have to pay attention to. I mean, obviously you want to win. The point differential makes it confusing and interesting. Because I know that at the end of the game, you're trying to shoot the ball, but you have respect for the game. So I know there's a lot of things going on like that. But you know, it's just it's new.”
Miami Heat rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. talks about the importance of point-differential in the NBA In-Season tourney and mentions the conversation about respect when shooting with a big lead at the end of games. #HeatCulture pic.twitter.com/UCOxOxkpog
— Zachary Weinberger (@ZachWeinberger) November 27, 2023
For Heat guard Josh Richardson, the initial focus is to win the game at hand, then focus on where the point differential comes into play. So far this season, he's averaging 8.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game.
“First of all, we're trying to win. Try to play to the best of our abilities and then see where the point differential comes in,” Richardson said to ClutchPoints.
For the Heat to advance to the next round as a group winner, the clearest way is to beat the Bucks Tuesday and for the New York Knicks to lose to the Charlotte Hornets. Point-differential plays a huge part if that way doesn't come into fruition as Miami can either move on being a group winner or a wild-card, but time will tell.