MIAMI (AP) — Bam Adebayo never got a chance to meet Kobe Bryant. He was hoping it would come at this year’s All-Star Game.
Coaches might be sending Adebayo there.
Adebayo got his third triple-double of the season in his last opportunity to impress Eastern Conference All-Star voters, Duncan Robinson scored 21 points and the Miami Heat eased past the Orlando Magic 113-92 on Monday night.
“It was about honouring Kobe,” Adebayo said. “I felt like I had the ‘Mamba Mentality’ tonight. … I never got to meet him but he’s here in spirit.”
Adebayo finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He’s a candidate to be a reserve selection for the All-Star Game; coaches pick those teams, and their ballots were due at the NBA office yesterday for an announcement tomorrow.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra doesn’t lobby colleagues to sway their vote.
“Maybe that’s wrong,” Spoelstra said. “I don’t feel comfortable doing that. … Your play should speak louder than anything else and I feel at the core of my heart that Bam’s play has made him an All-Star and our winning should also be proof of that.”
Jimmy Butler scored 19 points, Goran Dragic had 14 and Tyler Herro scored 13 for Miami. The Heat improved to 13-0 at home against Eastern Conference teams.
Nikola Vucevic had 13 points and 12 rebounds for Orlando. Aaron Gordon scored 12 points, Markelle Fultz had 12 and Terrence Ross had 11 for Orlando.
“Our starters got badly outplayed to start the game and got crushed to start the third quarter,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said. “To me that was the biggest factor.”
Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the other seven victims of the helicopter crash in Southern California were remembered, as has been the case in every game since the news broke on Sunday.
The Heat played a video tribute pregame, putting 24.8 seconds — part of a series of nods to Bryant’s jersey numbers with the Los Angeles Lakers — on the scoreboard. The Heat took a 24-second violation to start the game, the Magic then took an eight-second violation. Several players had messages to remember Bryant and his daughter scrawled on their sneakers.
And at halftime, the Oscar-winning animated version of Bryant’s poem Dear Basketball was shown on the arena screens.
“I don’t know if there’s enough you can do,” Spoelstra said.
The Heat went on a 19-two run over a six-minute stretch of the third quarter, taking a game that it led by six at the half and seven when that spurt began and turning things into a 76-52 cushion. Orlando was one for eight from the field with a pair of turnovers during that stretch.
Orlando played its league high-tying 15th game of January, its third game in four nights and sixth in a span of nine days. And now the Magic get a very unusual break after such a hectic stretch, with four full days off before playing host to Miami on Saturday.
“We see them on Saturday,” Gordon said. “We have to figure this out or the same thing will happen.”