Slow starts have been the theme thus far for the Miami Heat in summer league play.
Sunday, the Heat fell behind 21-0 in the first quarter before the Orlando Magic held on for an 81-68 victory, dropping Miami to 0-2 thus far in the exhibition season.
“It’s not the welcome back I wanted, that’s for sure,” said Heat assistant and head summer league coach Chris Quinn, who rejoined the team along with Juwan Howard on Sunday after staying back in Miami Saturday for Gordon Hayward’s free agent visit.
“Two games in a row now we’ve gotten off to slow first quarters. I thought after that our energy, our competitiveness, our disposition changed. We won two of the last three quarters. We competed the rest of the way. But it’s tough when you’re constantly digging yourself out of a hole.”
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Rookie first-round pick Bam Adebayo? His shot is off to a slow start, too.
After going 6-for-14 from the field for 14 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in his debut Saturday, the former University of Kentucky star missed 12 of his 16 shots Sunday, bringing his tally after two summer league games to 10 makes and 20 misses. But it’s hardly a concern for the Heat or Adebayo.
There’s no better time than meaningless summer league games to let a 19-year-old rookie work through some rust and get opportunites that will not be there once the regular season begins.
“You know I haven't played five-on-five since we lost in March,” Adebayo said Sunday after he tallied 14 points (six from the free-throw line), nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals in a little less than 29 minutes. “I’m just getting used to it — even the long quarters. There’s been times I’ve looked up and thought it is the second half and it’s still the second quarter. You know I’m just getting used to that and the uptempo style. If I do that I’ll be fine.”
Quinn said he’s liked Adebayo’s activity level thus far. The rookie said he feels like he’s done a good job rebounding and hitting open shots.
“Athletically and energetically, he’s a beast for a 19-year-old,” Quinn said. “Obviously we’re going to ask even more from him. Can he get one more rebound? Can he get one more block shot? How many extra efforts can you make that impact winning? That’s what we’re going to need this coming season.”
For now, Quinn said, the Heat has no problem with him putting up a lot of shots.
“As part of summer league, he’s obviously one of the feature guys,” Quinn said. “His shooting, you can see it, it’s not broken. It’s something maybe he hasn’t been asked to do in the past. But we’re giving him the freedom to get the ball down low, to make plays for us. At the end of the day, we want him rebounding, we want him defending. Those will be the things we focus on the most.”
If there was one highlight for Adebayo on Sunday it was just before the half when he beat Magic rookie first round pick Jonathan Isaac on the offensive end and then came down and stopped him on the defensive end. Isaac, taken eight picks earlier than Adebayo, finished with 15 points, 13 rebounds and a block.
“That’s definitely the way the game is going,” Quinn said of athletic, fast big men. “The Isaac kid is very talented. You can see he gave us fits on both ends of the court. But Bam, he has the ability to guard out on the perimeter. He moves his feet well and he definitely gives you more options on both ends of the court.”