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Dejounte Murray plays the hero yet again in clutch win, 109-108

NBA: Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks Jordan Godfree-USA TODAY Sports

The Hawks took on the Miami Heat without star player Trae Young seeking a three-game winning streak. In Young’s place was Bogdan Bogdanovic, who was into the starting lineup for his fourth start this season.

Dejounte Murray stepped into Young’s shoes as the lead guard and helped powered the Hawks to some early buckets. The main trigger was getting some stops on Miami and racing out for quick points in transition. Atlanta secured a 15-9 edge by the first timeout.

The Hawks maintained their lead behind a couple of triples from sparingly used Patty Mills. Murray chipped in with some nifty drives and finishes around the rim in traffic.

Even Garrison Mathews and Trent Forrest got into the action late in the quarter.

After one quarter, the Hawks owned a 32-24 lead. Still, Atlanta couldn’t quite carry that momentum into the second quarter, allowing an 10-2 run to Miami to tie things at 34-34. But Atlanta responded as Dejounte Murray re-entered the game began to again match the Heat blow for blow.

Atlanta played Miami to an almost dead heat from that point until the end of the half, and the Hawks nabbed a narrow 57-56 lead heading into the locker rooms at half.

After an extended halftime break for the jersey retirement of Udonis Haslem, the two Southeast Division rivals were back at it. Unfortunately, the Heat came out with more firepower and quickly pushed the lead to eight points at 67-59.

The familiar third quarter woes persisted as the Hawks offense was stuck in neutral for the majority of the period. But Atlanta clawed back with a 9-2 run to close the quarter as the defensive intensity picked up significantly.

After three quarters, the Miami Heat led 83-81.

In the final period, the Hawks quickly took the lead behind a Bogdan Bogdanovic deep bomb.

However, Miami scrapped and clawed on defense and made nothing easy for the Hawks’ offense. The early portion of the fourth quarter brought some ragged, physical play and Miami briefly jumped out to a five-point lead.

But the Hawks kept fighting, and they eventually found some shooting space to take a 98-97 lead with under five minutes left in the contest.

Atlanta couldn’t shake Miami, however, and Jimmy Butler took control and helped the Heat grab a 103-102 lead with under two minutes yet to play.

The Heat made some backbreaking shots down the stretch, including a deep movement three from Tyler Herro. Atlanta contributed to their own downfall, as well, including a crushing fumbling of a sure rebound out of bounds on a pass to Bogdanovic.

With Atlanta down four points and 35 seconds left to play, Bogdanovic drew a foul and hit both free throws to pull the Hawks to within two. Tyler Herro couldn’t loft a shot high enough over Jalen Johnson on the other end to give the Hawks a gasp.

Then, Dejounte Murray conjured up yet another crucial clutch shot, pulling up from super deep to give the Hawks a one-point edge.

On the final defensive possession, the Hawks forced Butler to give up the ball late and Caleb Martin couldn’t get off a clean look, helping Atlanta seal the tough win, 109-108.

Dejounte Murray finished with 22 points and 11 assists, including the deciding last three points. Jalen Johnson added 15 points, seven rebounds and two assists. The Hawks have a quick turnaround as they head home for a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday evening.