The Atlanta Hawks faced off against the Miami Heat on Sunday evening in what was the fourth and final game of the week for Atlanta. The Heat have been hot indeed coming into this one on a five-game winning streak, including a win over the NBA-leading Utah Jazz just two nights prior. The Hawks looked to grab a win to finish at .500 for the week, and gain some positive momentum heading into the All-Star Break next week.
Despite fighting back to gain the lead in the fourth quarter, the Hawks couldn’t capture any momentum and fall to 1-3 on the week and a 14-19 record after the 109-99 loss to Miami.
Jimmy Butler was out of action for Miami, but the Heat saw Tyler Herro back in the lineup. The Hawks were missing Cam Reddish for the fourth consecutive game, as well as regular injury report additions Bogdan Bogdanovic, De’Andre Hunter, and Kris Dunn.
Both sides got off to a rough start offensively; the score was 11-10 in favor of Atlanta at the 6:00-minute mark. However, the Hawks got some early lift from Tony “Cheat Code” Snell, who hit two early 3-pointers.
The Heat came out of a timeout with a different game plan and quickly scored on four of their next seven offensive possessions. The Hawks meanwhile went cold with the starters on the bench and Miami was able to pull into the lead entering the final two minutes of the quarter.
Miami’s full court defense and extended zone allowed them to feast on bad turnovers from Atlanta, and Miami held a five-point lead at the end of the period, 26-21. It would have been worse, however, without a heads-up offensive rebound and kick-out from rookie Onyeka Okongwu to the vet Rajon Rondo, who hit a buzzer beater 3-pointer to bring the Hawks within five points.
The bench unit for the Hawks continued to struggle offensively at the start of the second quarter before Trae Young re-entered the game, and the Heat were able to stretch out a ten-point lead after just two minutes had elapsed in the quarter. Unfortunately, it didn’t get much better when Young subbed back in, as he didn’t seem at his best battling a right abductor strain.
The Hawks really struggled offensively right up until the final two minutes when buoyed by two consecutive 3-pointers by Young and a nice put-back layup by Collins. But, the Hawks weren’t able to string together enough stops to put a dent in the lead, and they carried a ten-point deficit into the half at 54-44.
Erik Spoelstra and the Heat took advantage of the Hawks lack of secondary ball-handlers and terrorized the Hawks by implementing a 3⁄4 press, extended 3-2 Zone, and doubling Trae on handoffs and pick-and-roll possessions.
This caused Atlanta to shoot 35.6% (16/45) from the field, and kept Young to only six points and 2/9 shooting. John Collins led the Hawks with 12 points. For Miami, Kendrick Nunn led all scorers with 13 points (and six assists) along with 10 points from Bam Adebayo and a surprise 10 points from rookie standout Precious Achiuwa.
Collins continued his hot shooting in the second half and single-handedly dragged the Hawks back into the game. Collins scored 11 consecutive points in a three-minute span, and the Hawks found themselves down only four points going into a Heat timeout with 6:41 left in the quarter.
With just under six minutes left in the third, the Hawks tied the game at 63 on a Clint Capela hook shot over Kelly Olynyk. The Hawks, Collins and Capela in particular, bullied Olynyk time and time again to get back into the game. Capela and Collins combined for 29 of the Hawks 33 points in the third quarter (19 from Collins, 10 from Capela). The Hawks finished the third quarter down just one, 78-77.
Those 19 points marked a career high for points in a quarter for John Collins.
Atlanta briefly captured the lead at 79-78 on a Gallinari fadeaway early in the fourth, but they quickly found themselves in a seven-point hole after two consecutive buckets and an assist from Herro, forcing a Hawks timeout with 9:32 in the fourth quarter.
Both teams traded hard-fought baskets for the middle portion of the final frame. Like this tough and-1 finish from Young.
Trae takes the contact and scores anyway. pic.twitter.com/nWkW8P6qRn— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) March 1, 2021
There was another career-high tonight, as Kevin Huerter snagged his fifth steal of the game in the middle of the fourth quarter.
The Hawks tied the game at 92 with 4:31 left in the fourth on a pair of Young free throws. They tied it again at 95 on a John Collins 3-pointer.
Coming out of a Miami timeout with 3:38 left, the Heat went on a 10-0 run, exacerbated by a missed 30-footer, a costly shooting foul, and a bad turnover on consecutive offensive possessions for Trae Young.
The Hawks never recovered from that disastrous run and lost control of the game, losing to Miami 109-99.
Miami relied on 24 points from Nunn, and 16 from Adebayo. They were also helped by late contributions from Herro.
Collins led all scorers with 34 points, and he added ten rebounds and three blocks. Capela also had a solid night with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Young finished with 15 points on 3/14 shooting, and 2/8 from three-point territory.
The Hawks will face the Heat again in Miami on Tuesday, March 2nd.