<
>

Heat's Bam Adebayo plays first scrimmage since bout with coronavirus: 'Feel like I'm back'

Miami Heat All-Star big man Bam Adebayo believes he is ready to deliver again after missing the first two weeks of bubble workouts because he tested positive for the coronavirus.

Adebayo backed up his confidence in his first scrimmage Tuesday by scoring 16 points, grabbing four rebounds and dishing out three assists in 25 minutes during a 128-110 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

"It felt good to be back with my teammates," Adebayo said during a postgame videoconference call. "All in all I feel like I'm back. I feel like I'm going to get back in the flow."

Despite the loss, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was pleased with Adebayo's performance and activity on the floor. After the Heat dealt with several injuries prior to the league shutdown on March 11, and Adebayo and Kendrick Nunn tested positive for COVID-19, Spoelstra takes comfort in the fact that his team is finally healthy heading into its first seeding game Saturday afternoon against the Denver Nuggets.

"He was pretty sharp," Spoelstra said of Adebayo. "The most important thing was getting those game minutes and working to get that second wind."

Adebayo looked a little rusty at times, but his teammates and coaches know the emotional impact he brings by being back on the floor is crucial for the Heat to make a deep run in the bubble.

"It's always good to have one of our best players back," Heat All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler said. "Somebody that does so many things well, knows where everybody's supposed to be on the floor, and he plays incredibly hard. He's one of our leaders. We missed him. We're glad to have him back, we're glad to have [Nunn] back, the whole group."

While Spoelstra noted that the biggest key for Adebayo will be continuing to get game reps under his belt, the Heat also will have plenty to clean up over the next few days after getting blitzed by a young and hungry Grizzlies team that starts play Friday with a 3 1/2-game lead for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. In the short term, Adebayo believes he will be ready to roll Saturday and will have no issues finding a rhythm quickly.

"Give me another game," Adebayo said when asked how close he feels to being 100 percent. "I feel like if I would have got two scrimmages in, then I feel like I'd be ready."

As he has done several times since arriving in the bubble last week, Adebayo ended his videoconference by saying "Black Lives Matter" -- and reiterated that he is hopeful there will be justice for Breonna Taylor.

Taylor, a Black emergency medical technician, was killed in Louisville, Kentucky, in March after plainclothes officers executed a "no-knock" warrant related to a narcotics investigation and shot the 26-year-old at least eight times, per reports. No drugs were found.

"It's so powerful because the minority is the majority," he said of the ongoing and sustained push throughout the league to get justice for Taylor. "It doesn't matter if I didn't know her or I did, she is still a Black young lady. I'm a Black young man, and it could've happened to me. It could've happened to any of the Black young men in our locker room. When you have situations like that, you want justice, you want somebody to be held accountable. At the end of the day, they were wrong."