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Hawks hang with Heat but succumb late, 115-105

NBA: Playoffs-Atlanta Hawks at Miami Heat Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks were at the wrong end of a beat down on Sunday afternoon at the hands of the Miami Heat in a first round playoff matchup. They looked to come out Tuesday night and reverse fortunes, and began by inserting John Collins back into the starting lineup for the first time in a month and a half.

Kevin Huerter got the scoring started for the Hawks, with this nice triple created by a Collins flair screen.

A Miami 10-0 run, however, quickly put the Hawks behind the 8-ball yet again. After starting 1-for-11 (9%) in Game 1, a 2-for-9 (22%) start from the offense began to feel like deja vu.

But the Hawks wouldn’t be phased. They responded with increased activity on the defense end and crisp ball movement on the other end.

There was chippy play immediately, with lots of hard fouls in both directions. The Hawks would scrap with the Heat in the first quarter, which was at least an improvement over the previous game.

A late quarter tip-in from De’Andre Hunter brought the margin to just 1-point after the first period.

Trae Young and Hunter combined for 19 of the Hawks’ 25 points after 12 minutes. Hunter continued his strong play in the second quarter with this strong take off the dribble.

He and Kyle Lowry would get tangled soon after and both would be assessed a double technical foul.

Then Delon Wright, defensive extraordinaire would make his mark on the game.

The Hawks continued to fight despite some difficult foul trouble. Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter, and Bogdan Bogdanovic all found themselves on the bench at the end of the half with three fouls each. In the end, the Hawks committed 14 fouls in the second quarter and found themselves down 56-54.

Jimmy Butler led all scorers at the break with 21, but Trae Young was close behind with 18 points, plus three assists and three rebounds, although he did have four turnovers to his name. The Hawks would need another consistent 24 minutes to pry a split out of the first two games of the series on the road.

The new half started out like the old half, however, with Hunter quickly picking up his fourth foul and the Heat going on a 11-0 run. The Heat maintained their lead with hot three point shooting and execution, and the Hawks remained a step slow in the third quarter. Facing an 87-76 deficit at the end of three periods, the Hawks would have to dig deep and find a miraculous close to the game.

Former Hawk Dewayne Dedmon was determined to not let Atlanta back in the game, with a number of offensive rebounds and putbacks to pad the lead. Bogdan Bogdanovic, however, would cut the margin to eight with five points in the span of 20 seconds early in the fourth quarter, including this deep bomb.

He would continue his scorched Earth run with some sharpshooting and help Atlanta cut the lead to four points at one point.

The Hawks would absolutely not go away without a fight. Despite a tough game in the turnover department, Young was doing his part to score efficiently and distribute,

Yet another Bogdanovic triple pulled the game within one possession with under four minutes left in the game. But Jimmy Butler would will his team across the finish line with an uncharacteristic display of long range shooting as part of a 9-0 run for the home team.

The Heat drained their foul shots to ice the game, and the Hawks fell to 0-2 in the series with the teams relocating to Atlanta for the next two contests.

Jimmy Butler finished with 45 points on 25 shots, with five assists and five rebounds to boot. Bogdanovic led the Hawks with 29 points on just 18 shots. Trae Young added 25 points and seven assists, but also 10 brutal turnovers in the loss.

Ultimately the Hawks were better on both sides of the ball in Game 2 compared with Game 1, but it wasn’t quite enough to dent the 1 seed Head in the two game set in South Beach. Game 3 will be in Atlanta on Friday night.

Stay tuned.