Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) looks for an as Miami Heat guard Max Strus (31) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball play-in tournament game Tuesday, April 11, 2023, in Miami. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Heat On the Brink Of Elimination After Play-In Loss to Hawks

The Miami Heat find themselves on the verge of missing the 2023 NBA playoffs after falling to Atlanta in the first matchup of the NBA Play-In Tournament Tuesday night, 116-105.

Miami entered this game as the seventh seed with home-court advantage against a scrappy Hawks team that has had many ups and downs throughout the season.

Game Trends

The Hawks came out motivated, and it was evident early on. Atlanta put up 36 points in the first quarter and carried that momentum through the rest of the game.

The Heat started off on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Miami came out of the gate sluggish on the offensive end and struggled to slow down the Hawks’ offensive attack. After the first quarter, the Heat found themselves down nine.

At halftime, Miami trailed by 15, and it looked like the game was starting to slip away.

The second half was much more closely contested than the first, however, as both teams made respective runs in the final two quarters.

The Heat managed to pull within five points in the third quarter and cut the lead down to single digits again down the stretch. But Atlanta was able to fend off the Miami runs time after time and pull out the 116-105 victory.


The Heat received major contributions on the offensive end from an unlikely player. Miami guard Kyle Lowry dropped 33 points on 11-16 shooting from the field and 6-9 from 3-point range. Lowry average just over 11 points throughout the 2022-2023 season and saved his best for when it mattered.

Lowry’s 33 points marked the most he’s ever scored in a Heat uniform. He was a major factor in keeping Miami somewhat close in this game, despite being unable to secure the win.

Heat guard Tyler Herro also made a large contribution on the offensive end with 26 points and six rebounds.

Miami star forwards Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler both struggled to find footing shooting the basketball. Adebayo scored 12 points on just 5-12 shooting, and Butler scored 21 on an inefficient 6-19. The Heat will look for both to perform better in the team’s next play-in matchup in order to come out with a win.

For Atlanta, star guard Trae Young led the way offensively with 25 points to go with seven assists and eight rebounds.

Young’s running mate, guard Dejounte Murray, also played a major role in the Hawks win. Murray poured in 18 points in addition to five rebounds and six assists.

With this duo-led victory, the Hawks will now advance to the first round of the NBA playoffs to take on the Boston Celtics.

The Last Chance

Following this loss, the Heat will have one more opportunity to make the playoffs.

Miami now awaits the winner of the Toronto Raptors vs. Chicago Bulls play-in matchup for their final game.

The winner of that matchup will then advance to the playoffs to take on the Milwaukee Bucks. The loser will be eliminated.

Butler spoke about the loss post-game Tuesday night. He emphasized that the team needed to remain confident and look to “start the right way” Friday.


About Austin Stirling

Austin Stirling is a second-year journalism major with a sports media focus. He is aspiring for a career in sports media writing/production. Contact him at

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