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Heat's Bam Adebayo named starter in All-Star Game, replacing Joel Embiid

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Bam Adebayo was selected as the replacement by Doc Rivers, who will coach the East squad in the upcoming All-Star Game.

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A new honor is awaiting Miami’s Bam Adebayo: He’ll be an All-Star starter for the first time.

Adebayo was announced Saturday as the replacement for Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid in the Eastern Conference starting lineup for Sunday night’s NBA All-Star Game. Embiid — the reigning MVP and two-time defending scoring champion — is missing the game because of a knee injury.

Milwaukee coach Doc Rivers, who will lead the East team in the All-Star Game, made the selection.

Adebayo made the All-Star team this season as a reserve selected by coaches, just as he did in 2020 — when he also won the skills competition at All-Star weekend — and 2023. He’ll become the seventh player to be an All-Star starter as a member of the Heat and the first since Dwyane Wade in 2016.

Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Alonzo Mourning and Anthony Mason also were All-Star starters as members of the Heat. Mason was an injury replacement for Grant Hill in 2001; Bosh was an injury replacement for Rajon Rondo in 2013.

Adebayo — a member of the U.S. Olympic team that won gold at the Tokyo Games in 2021 and someone expected to be part of the team that will seek a fifth consecutive gold medal at the Paris Olympics this summer — is a four-time All-Defensive team member. He has finished no worse than fifth in the defensive player of the year voting in each of the last four seasons.

Adebayo is averaging 20.2 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.1 steals and 1 block per game this season, his seventh with the Heat and his first as Miami’s captain. No Heat player has ever finished a season with all those averages and only two other players are averaging at least that much in all five categories this season — Embiid and Milwaukee All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.

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