Hawks falter vs. Heat as play-in race remains tight

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) passes the ball as Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, April 8, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

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Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) passes the ball as Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, April 8, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Credit: AP

MIAMI – With poor execution in the final five minutes, the Hawks lost to the Heat, 113-109, at FTX Arena Friday night.

Next up, the Hawks will conclude the regular season Sunday in Houston.

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Below are some takeaways from the loss:

1. This loss does the Hawks no favors as Atlanta, Brooklyn, Cleveland and Charlotte jockey for play-in tournament standing. The Nets beat the Cavaliers Friday, and the Hornets beat the Bulls. So, in a tight race, the Hawks’ loss to the Heat leaves them tied with Charlotte, one game behind the Nets and Cavaliers, who are also tied. The Hawks have one more regular-season game, which on paper they should easily win, against the Rockets, who are in the Western Conference basement at 20-61.

2. Although the Hawks went into the fourth trailing by three after the Heat won the third quarter, 35-26, Atlanta started the final period strong and worked up to a six-point lead, 103-97, with a unit of Delon Wright, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter and Onyeka Okongwu humming along. Trae Young (35 points, eight assists, seven turnovers, minus-12) sat until the 5:03 mark before coming back in. But in those final few minutes, the Hawks struggled to execute.

Kyle Lowry (16 points, five rebounds) capitalized after a bad pass from Young, then Tyler Herro (15 points, nine assists, five rebounds) hit a 3-pointer to to put the Heat in front, 109-107, with 1:44 to play after another Young turnover. Lowry beat Bogdanovic (25 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals, plus-two) then found an open Bam Adebayo (24 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals) for a dunk. Danilo Gallinari (seven points, two rebounds) missed a 3-point attempt as the final minute wound down.

“We didn’t execute the last five minutes of the game and their pressure, I thought, sped us up,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. “We had some turnovers late in this game and that was the difference in this game. ... Our defense, I thought, was pretty good. Offensively, we just did not get what we wanted the last five minutes of this game.”

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Atlanta Hawks coach Nate McMillan watches during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Friday, April 8, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Credit: AP

Atlanta Hawks coach Nate McMillan watches during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Friday, April 8, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Credit: AP

Combined ShapeCaption
Atlanta Hawks coach Nate McMillan watches during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Friday, April 8, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

The fourth quarter was a draw, 22-22, but the Hawks were the ones who needed a win, had a late lead and let it slip away.

3. With the Heat already having clinched the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed, it seemed a possibility Miami may rest its stars against Atlanta. But they certainly didn’t take it that direction, going with their normal starting lineup (Jimmy Butler, Caleb Martin, Adebayo, Lowry and Max Strus). Butler played 37 minutes, Martin played 26, Adebayo played nearly 33, Strus played 27 and Lowry played 31, with Herro playing 32 coming off the bench.

4. In the third quarter, Young picked up his 15th technical foul of the season, with a 16th typically garnering a one-game suspension. According to a league spokesman, Young would not be suspended for the play-in tournament, however, if he were to pick up his 16th technical foul against the Rockets.

5. Typically a good 3-point shooting team (No. 2 in the league at 37.2%, behind the Heat at 37.9%, the Hawks had an off-shooting night. They shot 8-for-34 from 3-point range (23.5%) to the Heat’s 42.3% (11-for-26), and went 2-for-10 from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter. Overall, the Hawks shot 47.7% from the floor to the Heat’s 55.6%, with De’Andre Hunter (1-for-7 field goals, two points) and Gallinari (3-for-9 FG) particularly struggling.

Heat 113, Hawks 109

Stat of the game: Five (the number of Hawks turnovers, out of 15 total, committed in the fourth quarter, which proved costly)

Star of the game: Adebayo (led the Heat in scoring with 24 points, adding six rebounds, four assists and two steals)

Quotable: “... We lost another game that we should not have, and that’s it.” (Bogdanovic on the Hawks giving up the lead in the final five minutes)