Who was the biggest thorn for the Denver Nuggets in Game 1? That was quite easily Bam Adebayo, the star Miami Heat center. Adebayo was the leading scorer for the Heat with 26 points during the contest. However, what's interesting is Nuggets head coach Michael Malone's thoughts on Bam's 26-point game.
Here's him talking about why they're “fine” with that performance, per ESPN on NBA.
“We (Nuggets) didn't go in saying, ‘We're gonna make Bam Adebayo beat us.' We came in with full respect for Bam Adebayo, But if you're gonna score 26 points on 25 shots, that's something we're willing to live with,” Malone shared.
Adebayo shot 13-of-25 from the field to earn his 26 points. That's not a terribly inefficient stat-line; shooting above 50 percent from the field is always a good thing. Considering the shots that the Heat star was taking, though, you'd expect that number to be much higher. Adebayo missed more than a few bunnies and layups at the rim against the Nuggets defense. If you play as a center in the paint and the midrange, you need shoot a much higher percentage than barely above 50 percent.
Besides, those Bam Adebayo shots were shots that Jimmy Butler could've taken instead. The Nuggets are probably more comfortable letting Bam shoot than let Jimmy take those shots. Butler is struggling as of late, but he's shown that he's a much better scorer than Adebayo.
We'll see how the Nuggets decide to cover Butler and Adebayo in Game 2. With Butler being ultra-passive in Game 1, expect the Heat star to be much more aggressive in the next games.