Adebayo expected to start in scrimmage vs. Grizzlies. And more from Monday’s Heat practice

The Miami Heat practiced Monday night at Walt Disney World in advance of Tuesday’s scrimmage against the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Heat closes its three-game scrimmage schedule with an exhibition game against the Grizzlies on Tuesday at 2 p.m (Fox Sports Sun). It will be a quick turnaround for Miami, which began practice Monday night at 6.

As important week begins for Heat, what can be gleaned from the first two scrimmages?

Here are highlights from Monday’s media availability following the Heat’s 12th Disney practice, as coach Erik Spoelstra, center Bam Adebayo and forward Jae Crowder spoke to reporters on a video conference call ...

After taking part in his second formal team practice Monday since arriving at Disney last week, Adebayo is expected to play and start in Tuesday’s scrimmage against the Grizzlies.

With Adebayo available, it could be the first time Spoelstra uses the starting lineup of Kendrick Nunn, Jimmy Butler, Duncan Robinson, Adebayo and Meyers Leonard at Disney. This five-man group has posted an impressive plus/minus of plus-121 this season.

“It won’t be his full complement of minutes,” Spoelstra said of Adebayo. “We just want to continue to build. But he will play.”

Adebayo missed the Heat’s first two scrimmages. The All-Star big man was not available for the first exhibition because he was still in the middle of his in-room quarantine that is required upon arrival at Disney, and he did not feel he was ready to play in Saturday’s second exhibition after just one practice.

Adebayo has less than a week to prepare for the start of seeding games, with the Heat set to begin its seeding schedule Saturday against the Denver Nuggets. Considering Adebayo has not played in a game since March 11 when the season was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic, game reps in Tuesday’s scrimmage will help.

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So far, the NBA’s bubble concept seems to be working.

The NBA announced on July 20 that 346 players were tested at Disney since July 13, and zero returned positive for COVID-19. There has not been an update since, but there have also been no reported positive tests on the league’s campus yet.

For Major League Baseball, it’s a totally different story. MLB is not using a bubble to play its season, and the Miami Marlins are dealing with an internal COVID-19 outbreak that resulted in the postponement of the team’s home opener against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday.

Thirteen Marlins — 11 of them players — have tested positive for COVID-19. The Marlins’ traveling party is “self-quarantining in place” in Philadelphia while waiting for the results of additional COVID-19 testing administered on Monday.

“It’s humbling,” Spoelstra said of the Marlins situation. “We have to absolutely continue to remain respectful and humble with this virus. I’ve said it many times, we are not in control. We feel very confident about the plan and the depth of planning and thought that has gone into this operation here in this campus, this bubble. There’s a lot of planning. I remember being on so many calls for weeks and it’s based on a great deal of science and an incredible of collaboration from the league, Players Association, the organizations and the leadership from the NBA office and in particular Adam Silver.

“But I still wake up every morning and the first thing I do is I check my phone to wait for my text message from [head athletic trainer] Jay Sabol just to get the news of the results of the testing. I think that’s just the way it’s going to continue to be.”

Like several other players around the league, including Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown and guard Marcus Smart, Adebayo limited his Monday media session to answers calling for justice for Breonna Taylor.

Taylor, a Black emergency medical technician, was killed in Louisville, Kentucky, in March after police officers executed a “no-knock” warrant related to a narcotics investigation and shot the 26-year-old, according to reports. No drugs were found.

Adebayo opened the interview by saying: “Hold up. Hold on. Before we start this, I just want to say, this interview won’t go any further because all my answers will be about Daniel Cameron making a response to us about the injustice for Breonna Taylor and arresting those cops and holding them accountable.”

Spoelstra said he expects all 17 players on the Heat’s roster to be available for Tuesday’s scrimmage, with the possible exception of rookie forward KZ Okpala.

“KZ is working through some of his tendinitis, so we’ve been measured with his last couple practices,” Spoelstra said. “He was not available last game. He might be available tomorrow, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Crowder on facing his former team, the Grizzlies, on Tuesday: “Well, I’m big brother. So you had the big brother-little brother relationship; the big brother beats on the little brother a little bit, so that’s what I’m trying to do tomorrow, is just letting those guys know that I’m big brother, still, and in between the lines, I’m trying to win the game. This is our last rehearsal before the games start to count, so we’ll take it very serious.”

Crowder said the Grizzlies “did a great job of communication” before they traded him to the Heat in February.

“I’m very thankful for the Memphis organization for always having that open door, or revolving door with communication, because I know that’s not always the case,” Crowder said.