Miami Heat star frozen out in most important moment of loss to 76ers

In a huge game to create separation in the standings, Bam Adebayo was not involved in the Miami Heat's offense in the most important moments.

Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers
Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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After a lifeless third quarter that put the Miami Heat down by as much as 17 points, the Heat found a second life in the fourth quarter and tied up the game in large part due to Caleb Martin creating havoc defensively and Terry Rozier catching fire.

Unfortunately, Miami fell short in their valiant comeback effort and fell to the Philadelphia 76ers, 98-91, Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

In a huge game to create separation in the standings, Bam Adebayo was not involved in the Miami Heat's offense in the most important moments.

From the opening tip, Bam Adebayo had his fingerprints all over the game as he found his teammates early and also added to his three-point streak, this time hitting a shot from the corner.

Adebayo scored or assisted on the Heat's first 17 points. The 76ers double-teamed Adebayo as the game went on and dared players such as Haywood Highsmith and Delon Wright to hit shots. The Heat only trailed by two points at the half, but a regrettable turnover-laced third quarter put Miami in a big hole. The Heat were outscored 28-16 in the period.

With the news that Duncan Robinson was out for the remainder of the game with back discomfort and Adebayo on the bench to start the fourth, it seemed as if all hope was lost for the Heat. But Miami's full-court press caused multiple turnovers. Combined with Rozier providing the Heat with a much-needed scoring punch, Miami evened the contest at 85 with Adebayo on the bench.

Adebayo checked into the game with 5:39 with Miami trailing 88-85. He did not take a shot or score a point for the remainder of the game.

On a night when Adebayo had success early, Jimmy Butler (foot) was sidelined and a potential tie-breaker over the 76ers was at stake, the Heat offense went away from Adebayo at a time when he was needed the most.

Instead of playing through Adebayo, the Heat settled for forced shots and the 76ers pulled away. Credit to Philadelphia for doubling Adebayo and working to prevent him from catching closer to the basket, but something had to be done against a relatively weak Philadelphia front line still without Joel Embiid.

"They were packing the paint like crazy," coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters after the game.

If the Heat make a few more jumpers in the fourth quarter, maybe this isn't a discussion. But the team's best player needs to have a chance to win the game, especially when he is one of the few playing well.

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