In the fourth quarter of the Miami Heat’s Sunday night matchup against the Atlanta Hawks, Trae Young took a parade to the foul line. On three consecutive possessions, he drew a foul and made all six free throws. The score was tied 92-92 with 4:31 left to go.
And Miami didn’t have their closer Jimmy Butler, who sat out Sunday’s game with right knee inflammation.
With a little more than two minutes left, Goran Dragic stole the ball from Trae Young and found Kendrick Nunn in transition for a 3-pointer. That put Miami up 100-95.
The Hawks came up empty on the other end of the floor, and Nunn tossed a lob to Bam Adebayo. The Heat took a 102-95 lead with 102 seconds remaining. Young missed a floater for the Hawks, and Dragic made a dagger 3 in the corner to put Miami up 10.
The Heat made free throws to ice the game 109-99 and win their sixth consecutive game. Miami pulled to .500 at 17-17 — a mark they haven’t been at since they were 4-4. The Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors are also 17-17.
Atlanta stormed back from a 14-point lead in the third quarter and later closed the gap on an eight-point deficit in the fourth. But Miami responded every time the Hawks made a run and won despite shooting just 11-for-37 from 3-point range.
Nunn led Miami with 24 points on 8-of-15 shooting, including 4-of-8 from downtown. Nunn also dished out seven assists with zero turnovers. Look at him make a nice baseline drive to the basket for a Precious Achiuwa slam. Nunn’s continued growth this season has emerged as one the key factors in the Heat turning around their season this month.
Trae was pushing Kendrick baseline and everyone behind him was two steps slow. Nunn is doing a nice job making the simple plays. pic.twitter.com/BgfihNyJUm— Couper Moorhead (@CoupNBA) March 1, 2021
Achiuwa had possibly the best game of his rookie season, scoring 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field but also going 6-of-7 from the foul line. Achiuwa shot just 53 percent from the free-throw line coming into tonight’s game. On the defensive end, Achiuwa also showed his versatility, switching onto Rajon Rondo and blocking his shot.
Precious somehow bit on the classic Rondo fake and still blocked the shot. pic.twitter.com/Duy4ruHv86— Couper Moorhead (@CoupNBA) March 1, 2021
Despite Achiuwa’s strong play, Erik Spoelstra again didn’t play Adebayo and Achiuwa together. Adebayo went scoreless through a quarter-and-a-half and made a few maddening turnovers in the fourth quarter, but finished with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting, 13 rebounds and five assists. He also came up with a big block on John Collins — who torched Miami for 19 third-quarter points — and grabbed a huge offensive rebound that led to a Tyler Herro 3 with 4:02 left to go.
Great block by Bam on Collins. pic.twitter.com/8nDm7Jacl4— Joseph Beguiristain (@JoeBeguiristain) March 1, 2021
Herro returned from a three-game absence after injuring his hip in Miami’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers last Saturday. He struggled early on, but made a couple big baskets early in the fourth. Herro finished with 14 points on the night.
Dragic got the starting nod in place of Butler. He didn’t play as well as he did Friday night against Utah, but still made that dagger 3-pointer and contributed 13 points to the win. Andre Iguodala added seven points and six rebounds and frequently anchored a Heat zone defense.
The Heat again host the Hawks Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.