MIAMI — A number of Heat players have commented on this second-round series against the Knicks having been as physical as any basketball they’ve played this season.
Bam Adebayo said it’s as grueling as the 2020 NBA Finals he played in — and from which he was briefly knocked out.
“I got hurt in the Finals [for two games]. That was probably one of the most physical series I’ve been in. But I can put this right up there to it,” Adebayo said at Friday’s practice. “They’ve got guys that crash the glass, they look to assault the rim. So the biggest thing for us is boxing out and make sure we get the rebound.
“I feel like physicality doesn’t really start until the ball goes in the air, [or] there’s a ball on the floor. That’s when physicality really starts. I feel like we’ve been battle tested, and we’re prepared.”
The Newark, N.J.-born Adebayo alluded to the nagging hamstring injury he’s been dealing with, and the benefit of having enjoyed three days off before Saturday’s Game 3 in Miami.
“Rest the hamstring,” Adebayo said. “Good to get through days of good work, guys get the body right.”
This deep into the season, every player is dealing with aches and pains.
The exceptional physicality of this series will only exacerbate that.
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“Yeah, I mean, the playoffs are all pretty physical, but I think just the way they crash the glass and rebound, and just their size, makes them more physical,” Max Strus said. “But [it’s] nothing we’re going to shy away from, and we love the physicality too. So it’s been fun, and it’ll continue to be fun.”
Strus has been dealing with a lower-back contusion from a player Erik Spoelstra has insisted was a charge.
But the Miami forward didn’t appear on the injury report for Game 3, and shrugged “I’ve had worse.
“You don’t not want to play in these games. Everything matters. Everything’s on the line. So you’ve got to be willing to put your body and give everything you have at this time of the year.”
Cody Zeller (nasal fracture) is available for Miami, while Haywood Highsmith (knee tendinitis) is probable, telling the Sun Sentinel that he took an injection earlier in the week.
Jimmy Butler (right ankle sprain) and Caleb Martin (back contusion) are both listed as questionable, while Tyler Herro (right hand fracture) and Victor Oladipo (torn patellar in his left knee) are out.