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ASK IRA: Heat’s Adebayo stepped in for others; next can he step up with others?

Q: Ira, that’s the Bam Adebayo we need to see. That was All-Star Bam. What a game. – Taylor.

A: For most of Friday night’s game in New Orleans, it appeared Bam Adebayo was willingly playing second fiddle to Jimmy Butler’s aggression, Tyler Herro’s scoring and Duncan Robinson’s shooting. But once Jimmy went out and Tyler went down, and with the Heat already lacking playmakers and facilitators, Bam had no choice but to be at his best. And his best was more than enough. The ongoing challenge remains to get that Bam when Jimmy and Tyler Herro also are in the mix.

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Q: Intense, playoff feel from the jump against the Pelicans. Even a little unusual, seeing they only play each other twice a year. But a lot of physical play and Jimmy Butler was vocal from the jump, which meant he was locked in. That last move by Bam Adebayo on Larry Nance Jr., a thing of beauty. Perfect time for it too. – Douglas.

A: Most cogent here was how Jimmy Butler was involved. Get this intensity the rest of the way from Jimmy and the seed won’t matter. Jimmy lit the fire, then the Heat let the fuse take care of the rest.

Q: Good, Nikola Jovic is our starting power forward. Now don’t screw it up. – Allan.

A: Still think it is more matchup based than necessarily the pathway to the future. On Friday night, such an approach freed Bam Adebayo to defend Zion Williamson, with Nikola Jovic’s size available against Jonas Valanciunas. But few teams have the frontcourt bulk of the Pelicans. Now perhaps this is Erik Spoelstra’s way of unleashing Adebayo defensively against wing talent. And there is something to be said for that. But with small ball ruling the league at this stage, I would think Jovic is in the starting lineup more in pencil than pen.