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Heat crush Hawks 110-86 to take a 3-1 series lead

No Lowry, no problem. Despite a close start, it was Miami that would pull away and never look back thanks to a 36 point outing from Jimmy Butler.

2022 NBA Playoffs - Miami Heat v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images

First Half:

Gabe Vincent did his best Kyle Lowry impression to get things started, and though the offense looked a little clunky it still allowed PJ Tucker to get good looks. Still, Miami’s set offense struggled to score on Atlanta’s defense. Capela’s return definitely made things a little more difficult.

Miami played good defense to start, but Atlanta hit everything early on (they shot 71% from the field to start). With De’Andre Hunter turning into Steph Curry, and Trae Young doing Trae Young things the Heat fell behind early, but not by too much.

Atlanta’s field goal percentage would regress to normalcy towards the end of the first, and Herro, Tucker, and Dedmon all delivered to shoot Miami ahead by a couple of baskets. Both teams went back and forth throughout the first quarter, but it was the Hawks who’d take a one-point lead into the second.

The Heat did not have a good start to the second quarter, as they struggled to grab defensive boards allowing Atlanta a ton of second-chance points. Miami’s interior defense was porous and the Hawks exploited it as much as they could to go up seven on a 9-0 run. With Miami’s offense struggling Victor Oladipo saw minutes around the 7:40 mark. But it was Jimmy who’d step up with some huge buckets to get Miami back within 2, tie things up shortly after and eventually take back the lead on a 10-0 run.

The Heat would go on to extend their lead to 14 to close the half with Atlanta seemingly unable to stop Jimmy who feasted in the key.

Second Half:

Atlanta fought back early in the third with Huerter and Hunter converting on some tough buckets, but Jimmy and Bam kept things rolling on the other end. Bam unfortunately would rack up his fourth foul at the 8:29 mark and be replaced just as he was getting into a groove. Still, Caleb Martin, Jimmy Butler, and PJ Tucker all continued to do work to keep Miami ahead and in control of the game.

Gabe Vincent was strong in replacing Lowry, scoring 11. He can be hit or miss at times, but when he’s on, he’s one hell of a player. Also, Oladipo was great in his series debut (he’d finish with 6 points, 8 assists, and 4 rebounds and a +/- of 28). He looked so quick tonight and was able to get to the rim at will. The Heat ended the third with Oladipo running the offense, and Miami would take a 19-point lead into the fourth.

The Heat struggled to sink shots from beyond the arc to start the fourth, forcing them to go back to what was working (Jimmy attacking the key). Max Strus would break them out of it though, giving Miami a twenty-point cushion.

Despite Atlanta’s best efforts, or at least De’Andre Hunter giving it his all they just weren’t able to get anything going. That’s a testament to the Heat defense which kept Trae Young at 9 points. The Heat dominated on offense, as they hustled and grabbed every rebound possible. The “Let’s go Heat!” Chants were loud in Atlanta as Jimmy Butler continued to get any bucket he wanted in the paint increasing his scoring total to 30…and he wouldn’t stop there (he’d end the game with 36 points).

The reserves would enter to close the game as Miami cruised to a 24-point win. The Heat will look to close out the series at home Tuesday night.