Confident after their victory in Game 3, the Hawks, reinforced by the return of Clint Capela in the 5 major, are aiming for a second consecutive victory at home, to equalize and completely restart this series.
Unsurprisingly, it is these Hawks, focused and serious towards their goal, who make the best start. Spurred on by a fiery De’Andre Hunter (11 points), Nate McMillan’s men signed a convincing first quarter. Opposite, the Heat is struggling (8/25 on shots)… but only a small point behind at the end of the first quarter (26-25).
Then the momentum changes very quickly in the second quarter. Because after a big start which allows them to make a first break at +8 (37-29), the Hawks suddenly break down in attack. Faced with the defense of Miami which is increasing in intensity, no more shots come in. 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 conclude the first period! Yet in bad shape at the start of the match, the Heat was finally well ahead at the break (56-41).
Stunned by this Heat card before halftime, the Hawks are a « no-show » after the resumption. Completely haggard in defense, predictable and lacking in creativity in attack, the residents of a State Farm Arena taken aback by what they see no longer have light on all floors. The gap swells severely in the last act, up to +26, and “Let’s Go Heat” chants even descend from the bleachers.
After an enticing Game 3, which foreshadowed a boiling fourth inning, the Hawks took a very cold shower. Slapped at home, they are now back to 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 fatal second quarter for the Hawks. Despite a good start, the Hawks were disillusioned in the second quarter. In those 12 minutes before halftime, they only scored 15 points, 5/22 on shots, while the Heat stepped on the gas and soared to a 15-point lead. Broken in their tracks by this second quarter missed in the great widths, the Hawks did not recover and missed their second half.
The Heat have found the solution again against Trae Young. As in Game 1, Miami extinguished Atlanta by concentrating its defensive efforts on its conductor. Jostled by a physical defense, Trae Young signs a poor performance, 9 points at 3/11, and the Hawks sink, as a result. Very good in Game 2 and 3, « Ice Trae » still broke his teeth on the concrete defense of the Heat.
TOPS / FLOPS
✅ Jimmy Butler. In the absence of Kyle Lowry, the Heat winger redoubled his efforts and signed an XXL performance, satisfactory in all sectors: 36 points (12/21), 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. Unhappy with the previous game because the Heat had squandered a 16-point lead, “Jimmy Buckets” was keen to leave absolutely no chance to his opponents in Game 4. Mission obviously accomplished with great success.
✅ De’Andre Hunter. Difficult to draw positive from the evening of the Hawks, with the clear exception of the performance of the young winger, who floated with 24 points, 9/13 on shots. Unfortunately for him, his teammates weren’t as inspired.
✅ The Heat defense. After a warm-up first quarter, Miami took out the barbed wire starting in the second quarter, and the match was practically over from that moment on: 41 points conceded in the first half (33% at shots for the Hawks), 45 in the second half (at 48%, but counting the “garbage-time”), Trae Young limited to 9 points, only one player above the 20 points scored. In short, the Heat did what the Heat do best, smother their opponents on defense.
⛔️ The lack of lucidity of the Hawks. Far from the account in attack, Atlanta has complicated life by losing 15 balloons, transformed into 25 points by the Heat. On his own, Trae Young has 5 of 15 ball losses… Impossible for the Hawks, under these conditions, to exist against the Heat who punish each error.
Game 5: in Miami, on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday, at 1 a.m.