Heat’s Bam Adebayo avoids officiating question on free-throw discrepancy: ‘Will you take the fine?’

The Miami Heat lost an opening game of a playoff series for the first time this postseason, falling to the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. 

Miami went cold from the field, shooting just 33.3% from beyond the three-point line and 40.6% overall. 

Bam Adebayo (13) of the Miami Heat sits on the court after he was sent flying out of bounds by Nikola Jokic (15) of the Denver Nuggets during the fourth quarter of the Nuggets' 104-93 win in game 1 of the NBA Finals at Ball Arena in Denver on Thursday, June 1, 2023.  (AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

But it was the lack of free-throw attempts that drew questions after the game. 

The Heat shot and made just two free throws, the fewest free throws ever made and attempted in an NBA Finals game. 


In the postgame press conference, Miami center Bam Adebayo and forward Haywood Highsmith were asked three times about the lack of free throw attempts, and Adebayo made sure to avoid any criticism of the officiating. 

“If I do say something, will you take the fine?” Adebayo said when asked about the free-throw discrepancy. “I just feel like we can’t even get into that. We can’t let them dictate the game. I just feel like we took a lot of jump shots, and we missed a lot of them instead of getting to the basket. 

“We’re going to watch film and get back to the drawing board.” 

Bam Adebayo talks to the media

Haywood Highsmith #24 & Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat talks to the media after the game during game 1 of the 2023 NBA Finals on JUNE 1, 2023 at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado.  (Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)


Denver went to the line 20 times in Game 1, knocking down 16 of the attempts. 

Heat star Jimmy Butler, who scored just 13 points on Thursday, said Miami has to be more aggressive in getting to the rim. 

“Probably because we shot a lot of jump shots, myself probably leading that pack, instead of putting pressure on the rim,” Butler said, according to ESPN. “Getting layups, getting to the free throw line. When you look at it during the game, they all look like the right shots.


Jimmy Butler takes the court for the NBA Finals

Jimmy Butler (22) of the Miami Heat takes the court against the Denver Nuggets before the first quarter of the NBA Finals game 1 at Ball Arena in Denver on Thursday, June 1, 2023.  (AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

“And I'm not saying that we can't as a team make those, but got to get more layups, got to get more free throws. And whenever you miss and don't get back, the game gets out of hand kind of quickly. We gave up too many layups, which we also can't have happen. But that's it as a whole. We've got to attack the rim a lot more, myself included.”

Miami will have a chance to bounce back on Sunday with Game 2 scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET.

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