Los Angeles Lakers: Kevin’s Key to Game 1 of Lakers-Heat

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Lakers are four wins away from becoming NBA Champions.

Welcome to the special debut of Kevin’s Key. Where we determine the key to the Los Angeles Lakers locking up their opponent. The key to tonight’s game is Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo. 

Fun fact: Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo’s birth name is Edrice Femi Adebayo. Bam got the nickname from his mother, who witnessed a one-year Adebayo flip over a coffee table, as they were watching the Flintstones.

Fast forward to adult Bam. Bam is as old-school as Bamm-Bamm Rubble, his namesake from the Flintstones. The Miami Heat’s offense is modern, similar to the Golden State Warriors in their heyday. Both offenses are centered around a beautiful mix of screens, handoffs, and cuts. Miami runs its offense primarily through Bam at the high post.

Wise choice. More so than X’s and O’s, Bam represents Miami’s identity best.

Bam! Bam!

Miami wants to be the toughest, most physical team in the NBA. So do the Los Angeles Lakers.

The key to this series is who controls the paint. Bam is crucial in controlling the paint for Miami, whose two losses to the Lakers in the regular season seemed like a lifetime ago.

Related: The Los Angeles Lakers are unlike any team the Miami Heat have faced

Bam is now terrorizing opponents as Bamm-Bamm Rubble once did. Picture the closing moments of Game 6 – if this were televised on the Flintstones.

Bam! Bam! The Lakers have two Flintstones to potentially guard him. Several other non-Flintstones on the Lakers can jump back in time to guard him too.

(Flintstones are natives of Flint, Michigan. Special shout out to Ron Agers, fellow Lake Show Life writer, for showing Flint love. He has roots there.)

Flintstones! Meet the Flintstones!  

Kyle Kuzma
Kuzma was born and raised in Flint. If Kuzma ever guards Bam, ABC will cut to old Flintstones footage of Bamm-Bamm knocking around Barney. Viewers won’t be able to tell the difference.

Javale McGee
Javale McGee is a second-generation Flintstone hooper. His mother, Pamela McGee, won two state championships at Northern High School in Flint.

McGee is quick enough to potentially stay in front of Bam, definitely long enough to challenge his finishes at the rim, and strong enough to not get Bamm-Bammed in the paint. Miami loves to use Bam to give his teammates a head start via handoffs. McGee takes away their head start because he has a pterodactyl’s wingspan.

Miami’s sharpshooters, Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro, just take the ball from Bam and immediately shoot it. McGee will disrupt their shot when he jumps out. Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic normally take the handoffs like running backs, attacking the basket as if they are at the goal-line. McGee can drop back to contest their shots, like a stout goal-line defense.

Yes, this Flintstone has a legit shot at Bam and will be a great help defender to combat Miami’s rapid-fire offense. Meet the other non-Flintstones who may guard Bam.

LeBron James
LeBron will primarily be guarding Jimmy Butler. In case of emergency, LeBron is strong enough to handle Bam’s rampages into the paint.

Dwight Howard
It’s not a bird! It’s not a plane! It’s not Superman! It’s not Batman!

It’s Pebbles? Bamm-Bamm’s wife?

Howard is obsessed with guarding star big men. Against Denver, he temporarily became Batman just to guard Nikola Jokic (AKA the Joker). He claimed to be Superman to try to get in Shaq’s head.

Now, against Bam, he may be Pebbles. Or Fred. Or Betty. Not Barney though. Barney got smacked around. Like the Denver Nuggets here.

Expect Howard to get hyped for Bam. As he did with Jokic. He has to eschew the mind games, as his focus must be on point. His positioning while guarding Bam is crucial.

Howard must jam him immediately on the catch. With Bam’s midrange pull-up a clear threat, Bam will put Howard on skates if he gives Bam any space. His hip also needs to stay below Bam’s hip to obtain prime rebounding position.

Offensively, Bam has to box out Howard as soon as the ball is released. If the Heat play their inverted 2-3 zone, Bam has to trust Goran Dragic, Duncan Robinson, or Tyler Herro to box out the weak side player crashing the glass (think Danny Green or LeBron James). Bam will be too occupied battling with Howard.

This is all very detailed. Howard must first prove he is quick enough to guard Bam. If so, let Dwight “Pebbles” Howard’s mind games begin!

This should be good.

Markeiff Morris
Morris only gives up one inch and 10 pounds to Bam. If Lakers’ coach Frank Vogel inserts Morris into the starting lineup, I expect Morris to guard Adebayo. Expect Anthony Davis to guard Jae Crowder, Miami’s power forward, unless if Crowder can find his stroke again (who shot only 25.5% from three-point range vs Boston, a problem because 75% of his shots are three-pointers).

If he starts hitting, Howard and McGee may become unplayable. Markeiff Morris will start. Anthony Davis will have to play center. As crazy as it sounds, Jae Crowder’s shooting determines the playing time for Dwight Howard and Javale McGee.

Matchups are weird sometimes. Think back to the Houston series.

Anthony Davis
I expect Anthony Davis to guard Bam Adebayo in crunch time. AD and Bam are nearly equal in terms of size, length and quickness. In a way, Bam is a less-polished version of AD – with a killer instinct AD does not always possess.

AD may get hit a couple of times. His length is ultimately going to bother Bam’s rampages to the rim. He is able to defend Bam step-by-step, which takes away Bam’s advantages over opposing big men – namely his shiftiness and quick change-of-pace dribbles. Bam won’t put AD on skates, like he might against the McGee/Howard/Morris trio.

It is obvious AD is the best choice to guard Bam. It is a matter of how long Lakers’ coach Frank Vogel wants/needs to play AD at the 5.

At the very least, if AD struggles against Bam, Dwight Howard, Markeiff Morris, and Javale McGee have 18 fouls to go Bamm-Bamm on Bam.

Ultimately, this will decide the game. The team who has the most points in the paint and the most rebounds will win, which all boils down to controlling the paint.

Next. Lakers' offseason mistake was not adding Jimmy Butler. dark

Which is why stopping Bam Adebayo is key.