Celtics

Perk explains impact of Time Lord on slowing Bam Adebayo

Celtics

Through four games of the Eastern Conference Finals, Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo is averaging 14 points per contest.

However, the number is a bit inflated thanks to a single 31-point explosion on 22 field goal attempts in Game 3, with Adebayo failing to score more than 10 points or attempt more than six shots from the floor in any other contest.

Guess who didn't play for the Boston Celtics in said Game 3?

Forsberg: Time Lord's availability might be the biggest hurdle facing the Celtics

That would be Robert Williams III, who in conjunction with fellow big man Al Horford has helped limit the impact of Miami's former All-Star center on offense over the course of the series.

Appearing on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption prior to Game 5 on Wednesday, former Celtics big man and NBC Sports Boston analyst Kendrick Perkins explained why the presence of Time Lord has been so important in slowing Adebayo on both sides of the floor -- showing some love to Horford as well.

"When you look at it, it's not just because of Rob Williams," Perkins told hosts Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon. "It's the tandem of Al Horford and Rob Williams. You have Al, who's guarding him outside on the perimeter through the dribble-handoff, and then you have the safety net, a guy that's jumping off a pogo stick back there protecting the rim and waiting on Bam to drive and now they double team him."

 

When it comes to Adebayo's limited impact defensively, Perkins said, it's because he has to factor in the threat of a lob pass to Williams at the rim in addition to worrying about protecting the perimeter, where Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown could attack from.

"Rob's lob threat makes Bam think about going help," Perkins explained. "Now you have those driving gaps for Tatum and Brown and others to get a clear path to the basket without having to work off Bam coming to help."

Should Time Lord be available for the Celtics again in Game 5 as he continues to recover from a torn meniscus that's seen him in and out of the lineup, it will be worth monitoring Adebayo's impact -- or lack thereof.

Perkins also addressed the injury status of Heat star Jimmy Butler, who like Adebayo has had one great game this series -- a 41-point showing in Game 1 -- along with some more pedestrian showings.

"He doesn't look 100 percent but I don't believe at this point anyone is 100 percent," Perkins said. "Once you get between those lines, you know two people who aren't trying to hear that? Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Listen, Jimmy Butler has been a top five player in these playoffs and at the end of the day he's going against another top five player in Jayson Tatum. It's time to go to war tonight, no excuses."