Confident after the victory in Race 3, the Hawks, strengthened by the return of Clint Capela in the top five, are aiming for the second consecutive home victory, to equalize and restart this series completely.
Unsurprisingly, it’s these Hawks, focused and serious about their goal, who get off to a good start. Powered by a fiery De’Andre Hunter (11 points), Nate McMillan’s men signed a convincing first quarter. In front of the Heat struggle (8/25 on shots) … but only a small point behind at the end of the first quarter (26-25).
Then the momentum it changes very rapidly in the second quarter. Because after a great start that allows them to make a first break at +8 (37-29), the Hawks suddenly collapse in attack. Faced with the Miami defense that grows in intensity, there are no more shots. Atlanta only scored 15 points in this quarter, while the Heat, on the other hand, found solutions and glued a 26-4 to the local defense to end the first period! Yet, in bad shape at the start of the match, the Heat were finally ahead at half time (56-41).
Stunned by this pre-halftime Heat card, the Hawks are “no-show” after the second half. Completely gaunt on defense, predictable and lacking in creativity on offense, the residents of a State Farm Arena taken aback by what they see no longer have any light on all planes. The gap swells seriously in the last act, up to +26, and even the songs of “Let’s Go Heat” descend from the bleachers.
After a tempting Game 3, which foreshadowed a hot fourth inning, the Hawks took a very cold shower. Slapped at home, they are now back on the wall, on the verge of elimination before returning to Miami for Game 5, possibly the last of their season.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– A second quarter fatal for the Hawks. Despite a good start, the Hawks were disappointed in the second quarter. In those 12 minutes before half-time, they only scored 15 points, 5/22 on shots, while the Heat accelerated and moved up to 15 points. Broken on the trail by this second quarter missed in the great widths, the Hawks did not recover and missed the second half.
– The Heat have again found the solution against Trae Young. As in Race 1, Miami extinguished Atlanta by focusing its defensive efforts on its conductor. Driven by a physical defense, Trae Young signs a poor performance, 9 points out of 3/11, and consequently the Hawks sink. Very good in Race 2 and 3, “Ice Trae” still broke his teeth on the concrete defense of the Heat.
TOP / FLOPS
✅ Jimmy Butler. In the absence of Kyle Lowry, the Heat winger has doubled his efforts and scored an XXL performance, satisfying in all areas: 36 points (21/12), 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. Dissatisfied with the previous game because the Heat had squandered a 16-point lead, “Jimmy Buckets” was looking forward to leaving his opponents absolutely no chance in Game 4. The mission obviously was completed with great success.
✅ De’André Hunter. Difficult to draw positivity from the Hawks’ evening, with the clear exception of the performance of the young winger, who floats with 24 points, 9/13 on shots. Unfortunately for him, his teammates weren’t that inspired.
✅ Defense from heat. After a first quarter warm-up, Miami removed the barbed wire starting from the second quarter, and the game is practically over from that moment on: 41 points conceded in the first half (33% on shots for the Hawks), 45 in in the second half (at 48%, but counting the “junk time”), Trae Young limited himself to 9 points, only one player over the 20 points scored. In short, the Heat did what the Heat do best, smother their opponents on defense.
⛔️ The Hawks’ lack of clarity. Far from the count in attack, Atlanta has complicated life by losing 15 balls, transformed into 25 points by the Heat. Alone, Trae Young has 5 turnovers out of 15… Impossible for the Hawks, in these conditions, to exist against the Heat who punish every mistake.
Game 5: in Miami, the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, at one in the morning.