The Miami Heat’s second consecutive game hosting the Atlanta Hawks saw a familiar inflection point in the fourth quarter — a tie game. Sunday night, Miami went on a 10-0 run to break the tie and run away with the victory. Tonight, the Hawks took control.
After struggling to score just five points through the first three quarters, Trae Young knocked down three straight 3-pointers midway through the fourth period. That put Atlanta up 84-74 with 5:18 left, part of a decisive 15-1 run. The Heat couldn’t muster up enough offensive firepower and lost 94-80, snapping their six-game winning streak and missing yet another chance to get above .500 for the season.
Jimmy Butler missed his second consecutive game with right knee inflammation, and Miami missed his presence tonight more than Sunday. With their 3-point shot not falling — the Heat went an abysmal 2-of-15 from beyond the arc in the first half before finishing 9-for-33 — Miami couldn’t find enough scoring. The Heat also shot just 15-of-22 from the foul line, which would’ve been a bigger deal if not for the Hawks’ late 15-1 run.
Many will point to the lack of aggression from Bam Adebayo for this loss. Adebayo took just two shots in the first half and finished 3-of-8 from the field with just two rebounds. Clint Capela, by contrast, grabbed seven offensive boards. Adebayo’s best sequence came when he grabbed a rebound from John Collins and made an alley-oop dunk on the other end. But aside from that, Adebayo didn’t do nearly enough for the Heat — especially on a night Butler sat out.
The Heat struggled mightily to score throughout the game, save for the third quarter. Miami managed just 17 points in the first, a period that saw them miss nine of their 10 3-point attempts. In the third, Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro each made three 3-pointers to turn a seven-point halftime deficit into a three-point lead going into the fourth.
But the Heat’s offense ground to a halt at the worst moment Tuesday — a long offensive drought that we had seen in earlier wins over the Los Angeles Lakers and the Oklahoma City Thunder on this streak. Kendrick Nunn and Gabe Vincent both attempted open 3s in the fourth, but couldn’t get anything to drop. They combined to go 1-for-9 from deep.
Though he was a 3-point specialist in the G League, Vincent has strangely struggled from deep at the NBA level. On the plus side, Vincent made some nice defensive plays and helped the Heat contain Young for the first three quarters.
Robinson and Goran Dragic led Miami with 14 points apiece. Having your leading scorers put in 14 points is a sign of a bad offensive night. Nunn also had his first off game in a while, not only missing 3-point shots but coming up empty on a few drives to the basket he usually makes. Herro even took some ill-advised shots.
The Heat will face the New Orleans Pelicans Thursday night in their last game before the All-Star break.