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Oladipo leads Heat over Hawks, 97-94 to close out playoff series

Miami won their first-round series 4-1.

Atlanta Hawks v Miami Heat - Game Five Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

For a moment there, it looked dicey.

Back-to-back 3s from DeAndre Hunter pulled the Atlanta Hawks to within 93-95 with 1:14 left to go in Game 5 of the first-round series. And both Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry sat out the game with injuries for the Miami Heat.

Victor Oladipo, who started in place of Butler Tuesday night, drove to the basket and found Bam Adebayo for a dunk. Miami was up 97-93 with 59 seconds left.

The Heat didn’t score again, but they played enough gritty defense to hold off the Hawks and advance to the second round with a 4-1 gentlemen’s sweep. Atlanta had two chances down 97-94 — with 29 seconds left and with five seconds left — but couldn’t find a clean look either time. The second time, Danilo Gallinari was trapped in the corner and turned the ball over.

Even without Lowry and Butler — two players who defend Trae Young — the Heat shut the two-time All-Star again. Young shot just 2-of-12 from the field, including 0-of-5 from downtown and committed six turnovers. The Heat never let him get comfortable, and it was clear that Miami got in his head when he launched a corner 3 attempt that hit the side of the backboard in the fourth quarter. Miami’s physical defense on Young stands as the big takeaway from the series.

Oladipo led the Heat with 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field, including 3-of-6 from downtown. This was an ugly game for significant stretches — Miami didn’t make a 3-pointer until midway through the second quarter and could barely muster any offense to open the third quarter. Oladipo generated enough offense to keep this series from going to a Game 6 and give the Heat some rest heading into the second round.

The one stretch that was not ugly for Miami was a 17-0 run at the end of the second quarter. Following a Hawks timeout, Gabe Vincent stole the in-bounds pass and put up a layup attempt that Max Strus followed with a tip-dunk. The Heat forced another turnover, which led to a Strus corner 3.

Throughout this five-game series, the Heat proved they were the better team with these types of dominant runs. Strus finished the night with 15 points including 3-of-8 shooting from downtown on a night Miami as a team went 7-of-31 from deep. (Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro and Caleb Martin combined to go 0-for-13.) His play during that 17-0 run turned the tide of the game.

Adebayo also had his first 20-point game of the 2022 playoffs Tuesday night, finishing with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field to go with 11 rebounds. Adebayo’s jumper was off, but he made some good plays to get a bucket in the paint or a trip to the free-throw line.

Herro added 16 points, and Martin chipped in 10. Martin appeared to grab his hamstring during parts of the game, though. Erik Spoelstra played P.J. Tucker for most of the fourth quarter even though he had five fouls.

The Heat will await the winner of the Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors match-up, which the Sixers lead 3-2.