The Atlanta Hawks were in Miami this evening facing a win or go home situation as the Heat lead the series 3-1. The Hawks were dominated last game despite getting some help back, and in this game they were able to receive even more with Jimmy Butler being ruled out. Sadly, the Hawks were without Bogdan Bogdanovic, as the Hawks are already with injury problems.
Kevin Huerter got it going for the Hawks to start the game with seven early points.
The Heat were able to answer back with Victor Oladipo, as he started in place for Butler. He came out aggressive for the Heat with eight early points.
The Hawks weathered the Oladipo storm and attacked the interior of the Heat defense, something they haven’t been able to do much of in this series. John Collins, who continues to fight through his numerous injuries and create some points in the paint.
Both offenses couldn’t get much going in the quarter, and it looked like it was going to be a battle of whoever woke up first. For the Hawks, they were able to escape the first quarter with a one-point lead.
The struggle for both teams to get anything going on offense continued in the second and midway into the quarter. Finally, things began to pick up, and the Hawks hit back-to-back threes to give themselves a six-point lead.
The Heat battled back, and it was a back and forth battle for the next few minutes. With the Hawks up one, things began to crash for them as they turned the ball over twice in eight seconds. From there, the Heat couldn’t be stopped and went on a 17-2 run to end the quarter.
Just like Game 4, the Hawks fell apart late in the first half and did not have an answer. They went into the locker room down 54-42.
Something that was not like Game 4 was the Hawks responding to the Heat to start the second half. De’Andre Hunter started it off for the Hawks with four quick points. In the next few possessions, Young hit a floater and Collins was able to get off with a fastbreak dunk which cut their deficit to four points.
The Heat answered back to extend their lead, and both teams once again fell into a shooting slump, as the score of the game moved very slowly. The Heat woke up again, turned it up defensively against the Hawks, and smothered them throughout the third quarter.
The Hawks, once down four points in the third, found themselves down as much as 15. The Hawks made a few plays to get within 10, but the Heat came back firing as well. To end the third, the Hawks found themselves down 11 points with their season on the line.
With the margin of error being short for the Hawks, they had to chip away little by little in the fourth, and that’s what they did to start. Hunter continued to be big on offense and hit this three plus the foul to cut their deficit.
The Hawks continued to make a push, as Young found Onyeka Okongwu in transition for a layup plus the foul to cut their deficit to three points.
Like always, the Heat answered back with a 5-0 run, and McMillan called a timeout to weather the storm. The Hawks flirted with a 10-point deficit down the stretch and had to make a final push to get to Game 6.
With Young struggling, Hunter became the center of the offense, as the Heat didn’t have many answers for him.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, they didn’t have many answers for the Heat on the other side of the court. Hunter stayed with it, and continued to hit shot after shot for the Hawks, and got their deficit down to as much as two points with a minute left in the game.
With less than a minute left, and the Hawks down three, Hunter was called for his sixth foul which was detrimental for the team as he was the focal point down the stretch. The Heat missed the shot and Hawks were able to get the ball with 5.2 seconds left on the clock with their season on the line.
The Hawks inbounded the ball to Danilo Gallinari, and he was trapped in the corner with no place to go, and the game was over.
Hunter finished with 35 points and 11 rebounds, Huerter and Gallinari finished with 12 points, and Young finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, and six assists.
With the loss, the Hawks season is officially over, and the next step will be the NBA Draft and free agency.
Stay tuned for what could be an eventful offseason period for Atlanta.