"I put that game on me. It's not my teammates' fault, it's not my coaches' fault. It's me. I missed too many shots I should have made. Put that one on me."
Those were Bam Adebayo's words following the Heat's 121-108 loss in Game 5, taking the blame for the result which gave the Boston Celtics a sniff of hope in the Eastern Conference Finals. In Game 6, Adebayo responded with one of his best games of the season in the biggest moment of his young career.
TAKEAWAYS: Adebayo powers Heat to Game 6 win
The 23-year-old looked every bit the veteran leader, playing a huge role in the Heat's late 31-10 run, which came over a seven-minute stretch in the fourth quarter.
He finished with a career-high 32 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists, shooting 11-of-15 from the field to lift the Heat to a 125-113 win over the Celtics to advance to their first NBA Finals since 2014.
Bam Adebayo joins LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning as the only @MiamiHEAT players to record at least 30 PTS, 10 REB in a game in the NBA playoffs! #SAPStatLineOfTheNight pic.twitter.com/mCRlk59Rbl- NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) September 28, 2020
Adebayo also became the first Heat player to record 30/10/5 in a playoff game since LeBron James in 2014, earning plenty of praise from his teammates post-game.
"I just love being around him, he's a good dude, he cares about winning, he cares about his teammates," Butler said.
"He's the heart and soul of this thing, he really is. I keep saying it but he's going to be the reason that we win a championship."
"He's going to be the reason that we win a championship."@JimmyButler on @Bam1of1. pic.twitter.com/trnXmqdXLc- NBA TV (@NBATV) September 28, 2020
Butler finished with 22 points and eight assists, among six Heat players to score in double figures in the win as he prepares for his first NBA Finals appearance.
Head coach Erik Spoelstra, who will make his fifth appearance coaching in the NBA Finals and his first since the 'Big 3' era, credited Adebayo post-game for his bounceback from Game 5 to close out the series.
"He is one of the great players already in this association, I've said this before but he will become one of the great winners," Spoelstra said.
"He's about all the right things, he competes at all levels, he should be the Most Improved Player, he should be First Team All-Defence....he's all about winning and that's the only thing that matters and he took that responsibility on his broad shoulders and led the way tonight."
In 15 playoff games so far this season, Adebayo has averaged 18.5 points, 11.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.2 steals per game on an efficient 57.1% shooting from the field.
The Heat will need him to continue his sizzling form against the Los Angels Lakers in the NBA Finals against their giant frontline of Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, and JaVale McGee.
The 2020 NBA Finals will tip-off on Thursday, Oct. 1 between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers at 6:30 a.m. IST.
The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.