Game 1 loss shows Hawks must reach ‘another level’ to hang with Heat

MIAMI – The No. 1 seed Heat trounced the No. 8 seed Hawks, 115-91, in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series Sunday.

Next up, Game 2 will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Miami.

Below are some takeaways from the loss:

1. The Hawks took a complete beating in this one, unable to get anything going on offense. No. 1 seed Miami presents a much bigger challenge than Charlotte and Cleveland, the two teams Atlanta beat in the play-in tournament to nab the No. 8 seed, namely far stouter defense. The Heat threw off the Hawks’ rhythm, with Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, and Bogdan Bogdanovic combining to shoot 4-for-28 from the field (14.3%), and the Hawks overall shooting 38.7% (29-for-75) from the field and 27.8% from 3-point range (10-for-36). The Heat tallied 12 steals and the Hawks had 18 turnovers.

“I have no idea why we were not ready,” Hawks forward Danilo Gallinari (team-high 17 points) said. “We’re supposed to be ready. It’s Game 1 of the playoffs, you’ve gotta be ready. There’s no other way to be or approach a game like this. I honestly don’t know why we weren’t ready but we better be ready for Game 2.”

2. Young was held to a playoff-low eight points (1-for-12 FG, 0-for-7 from 3, 6-for-7 FT), with six rebounds, four assists, two steals and six turnovers, finishing as a minus-22. It’s hard for the Hawks to overcome a performance like that from Young, since they rely on his scoring and playmaking so much offensively.

3. Even though the Hawks were playing on short rest, having just beaten the Cavaliers Friday in Cleveland while Miami has been off for a week, coach Nate McMillan said that wasn’t the reason for Atlanta’s struggles. Instead, he blamed their lack of intensity, compared to that of Miami.

“I don’t think it’s tired legs,” McMillan said. “I thought Miami played on another level. We talked about that in our locker room, that in the playoffs there’s another level you have to get to. They already play with a high intensity aggressiveness every possession. They showed us tonight there’s another level we have to get to in order to compete in these playoffs.”

4. In one of the few positives in this game, John Collins, out since March 11 with a right ring finger sprain and right foot strain, was available to play. He said after the game that he wasn’t pain-free, but was able to push through and add 10 points, four rebounds, one steal and one assist in 21 minutes. The Hawks were down starting center Clint Capela, though, after he hyperextended his right knee against the Cavs Friday, and missed his presence in the paint.

5. As the Hawks continue to struggle to defend the perimeter, the Heat’s Duncan Robinson lit it up from 3-point range. Robinson went 8-for-9 from beyond the arc, leading Miami in scoring with 27 points off the bench.

Stat of the game: 35 (the amount of assists the Heat tallied as they cohesively moved the ball)

Star of the game: Robinson (led the Heat in scoring with 27 points off the bench)

Quotable: “Really, it’s just not getting down. You’ve got to win four games to win the series. You don’t win one and win it all. If that was the case we’d have been in the finals last year… We’ve just got to keep a clear mind, stay level-headed, and we will. And just be ready to go for Game 2.” (Young on how the Hawks can bounce back)

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