NBA Finals: Heat’s Bam Adebayo to start in Game 4 against Lakers; Goran Dragic ruled out with foot injury

The Miami Heat will have their All-Star big man Bam Adebayo for Game 4 of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Starting point guard Goran Dragic also attempted to make his return from a foot injury but was ultimately ruled out after going through tests pregame to determine his status, the team confirmed.

Both Heat stars suffered their injuries in Game 1, and have been sidelined for the next two games while trying to get back to 100 percent health. In their absence, the Heat managed to take a game off of the Lakers, and trail 2-1 in the series heading into the Game 4 showdown on Tuesday night. 

Adebayo was previously upgraded to questionable on the injury report issued on Monday night. During a conference call with reporters that afternoon, he said that he was hopeful that he would be on the court for Game 4, but that it was ultimately up to the medical staff to make the final call. It appears as though he’s in good enough shape to take the court, which should be a huge sigh of relief for the Heat, who showed some life after a Game 3 win on Sunday.

The third-year big man looked visibly frustrated when he was fielding questions from reporters regarding his health, and understandably so, considering the last two playoff games he’s missed are more than what he’s missed in the last two seasons combined. His versatility and athleticism are unmatched on this Heat roster, and without him on the floor, defensively, Miami struggled mightily in the first two games against the Lakers. Adebayo has undoubtedly been the Heat’s best player in the postseason, as evidenced by his team-high 9.5 net rating of any player in Miami’s regular rotation. 

Having Adebayo back in the starting lineup will bring a sense of normalcy for a Miami team that looked lost in the first two games of the NBA Finals. Game 3 showed that this team can fight back against the heavily favored Lakers, and with Adebayo returning, they’ll have an even better chance at trying to pull off an upset.

As for Dragic, he always seemed less likely to play. He told reporters on Monday that he’s still dealing with a lot of pain in his foot, and had been listed as doubtful for Game 4. The fact that he even made an attempt to play with torn plantar fascia shows how tough he is, but as he said during his press conference earlier this week, he doesn’t want to be a liability on the floor.

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