After dropping five of six games, the Miami Heat needed a spark — and they needed it fast. Now, it appears they’ve found one, as they have now put together back-to-back wins against the Atlanta Hawks this week.
Following a 117-109 victory over Atlanta Saturday, the Heat took home another win over their division rivals Monday night.
This time, Atlanta put up more of a fight .But Miami still managed to come away with the victory. The Heat moved to 35-31 with the win, while the Hawks fell to 32-33. Miami now sits 2.5 games ahead of Atlanta in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt.
Jimmy Butler led the way for the Heat with a near triple-double, as he racked up 26 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
Victor Oladipo and Caleb Martin chipped in with a pair of 20-pieces off the bench. Oladipo finished with 22 points, three assists and two blocks, while Martin contributed 21 points, four rebounds and one steal.
Most of the Hawks’ offense on the night came from their dynamic duo in the backcourt, as Trae Young and Dejounte Murray combined for 48 points.
Hawks Fly High Early
Atlanta caught fire almost immediately after tipoff.
Despite Miami boasting one of the best defenses in the league this season, they seemingly could not stop the Hawks — who continually made their way through the paint with ease.
By the end of the first quarter, the Hawks had maintained a 76 percent shooting clip going 19-for-25 from the field.
Miami put together some solid offense themselves, led by an eight-point quarter from Bam Adebayo, but they still trailed Atlanta 43-30 at the end of the first.
Spoelstra not . . . happy . . . at . . . all . . . with Heat defense. Now in the middle of an animated huddle, with Hawks 8 of 9 from field.
— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) March 7, 2023
Miami clawed their way back into the game as the second quarter progressed. Martin and Duncan Robinson combined for 24 points in the second period alone to give the Heat a much-needed boost.
Meanwhile, Atlanta’s offense had simmered back down, but still gave Miami a run for their money throughout the night. By halftime, the Heat had cut the deficit down to five points with Atlanta leading 68-63.
Heat Fight Back
In the third quarter, Butler led the charge for Miami right out the gate. Playing all but 29 seconds in the quarter, Butler tallied up 10 points, four rebounds and two assists in the period.
Atlanta continued to struggle regaining their rhythm offensively, especially from long-range. The Hawks shot 1-for-11 from three in the third quarter. Young also struggled from the field in general as the game went on, shooting 1-for-5 in the third.
Despite Butler’s best efforts, Miami still trailed 96-92 entering the fourth quarter. However, they were not behind for much longer.
A pair of threes and a beautiful alley-oop dunk from Oladipo sparked a 12-4 run that allowed the Heat to take their first lead of the game since the first quarter.
12-4 run capped by the oop 😮💨 pic.twitter.com/5BfwfFVv60
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 7, 2023
Butler and Tyler Herro chipped in with a combined 16 points to help the Heat pull ahead and stay ahead.
In spite of an improvement from the field, the Hawks could not get anything going offensively again with five fourth-quarter turnovers sinking their chances of a comeback.
Adebayo, once again proving himself as a top-tier defender, played a major role in forcing this offensive chaos for the Hawks — causing three turnovers on his own.
The Heat will return to the hardwood Wednesday night at 7:30, when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami-Dade Arena.