The Atlanta Hawks were in Miami to take on the Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Playoffs. It took two win-or-go-home games for the Hawks to get this point, as they’ve reached the postseason for two straight years. For the Heat, they’ve had a week of rest as they waited through the week to see who they would play.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, they’ll be without Clint Capela for some time, but some refreshing news is that John Collins was back, as he missed more than a handful of games to end the season.
With the Hawks having a quick turnaround and the Heat being out of play for a week, that made for a rusty offensive performance from both teams to start the game.
3-15 combined shooting to start this game.— Brad Rowland (@BTRowland) April 17, 2022
And Miami is weirdly 2-5 at the line with great shooters.
The Heat were the first to blink and hit a few shots to get in a groove. The Hawks continued to struggle through the first, and the Heat made it hard for Trae Young with their array of perimeter defenders. Despite having one of their worst offensive performances in a quarter (3-17 from the field) this season, they were able to go into the second with only down six points.
The Hawks were able to find a little more offense in the second, but they began trading buckets with Heat, which didn't help them cut down their deficit as much. Delon Wright came in and was a pest on defense and grabbing an offensive rebound to help Collins get his first bucket since his return.
Danilo Gallinari also got a pair of shots to go down to help trim the Hawks deficit. Outside of that, there wasn’t much consistent offense coming from Atlanta, and the Heat capitalized, extending their lead to as much as 15 in the second.
The Hawks are down 15 through 18 minutes.— Brad Rowland (@BTRowland) April 17, 2022
The defense has been pretty good.
Those two statements don't make sense together.
It was also apparent the Hawks were missing their anchor in the paint in Capela.
Hawks only have 6 points in the paint— Glen Willis (@willis_glen) April 17, 2022
Another area where they miss Capela
No effective dribble penetration so far despite the Heat deploying multiple players that can be vulnerable as individual defenders
Young, who struggled all first half, was able to penetrate Miami’s defense on a rare occasion to find Onyeka Okongwu for the easy slam.
The Heat put on a clinic from behind the arc with the help of Duncan Robinson, Gabe Vincent, and Kyle Lowry. Going into the halftime, they were shooting 53% from three, while the Hawks were shooting 11%.
As a whole, the Hawks were shooting 29% from the field, and Young and Bogdan Bogdanovic, two of the Hawks best shooters, combined to shoot 1-of-16 from the field. Going to halftime, Atlanta faced a 59-40 deficit.
Things didn’t get better for the Hawks early in the third, as shots continued not to fall. It was a 27-point lead for the Heat midway into the third, and nothing was going right for the Hawks.
Hunter took advantage of this opportunity, as he was another player quiet for most of the game.
Nothing changed for the Hawks through the third except for a few threes to fall, but they still went into the fourth down 26 points and shooting 33% from the field.
Even though they had pretty much sealed the game, the Heat continued to pile on the points and play aggressive on defense. Duncan Robinson didn’t stop his shot shooting, and finished with 28 points, hitting eight threes.
Nate McMillan threw in the towel with five minutes remaining in the game, as he put the end of the bench in the game.
Gallinari finished with 17 points, and Hunter finished with 14 points. After a wonderful performance on Friday from Young, he had the worst shooting performance of his career in this game and a season-low eight points.
Trae Young vs the Heat defense:— StatMuse (@statmuse) April 17, 2022
His worst shooting performance of his career. pic.twitter.com/uVAnTdewG1
The Hawks will be back for Game 2 in Miami against the Heat on Tuesday evening.