This wasn’t about fashion factors. This was about eager to see Atlanta completely of their rearview mirror for the 2022 playoffs.
So within the absence of their ground chief, the Miami Warmth reverted to their defensive roots and opted for gritty as a substitute of fairly, in transferring to a 110-86 victory Sunday evening over the Hawks at State Farm Enviornment.
Up 3-1 within the best-of-seven opening-round Japanese Convention playoff sequence, the Warmth have a possibility to shut it out Tuesday at 7 p.m. at FTX Enviornment, in any other case to return to Atlanta for a Thursday Sport.
“We needed to discover a totally different method to win this recreation,” coach Erik Spoelstra stated. “Loads of it was our defensive toughness and flexibility.”
With level guard Kyle Lowry sidelined by a hamstring pressure sustained in Friday evening’s Sport 3 loss, the Warmth went from flash to bash, in an effort centered on the defensive finish and fueled by the tenacity of Jimmy Butler and P.J. Tucker.
Butler, who pounded his method to the foul line, led the Warmth with 36 factors. Tucker, who long-established a breakthrough efficiency nearly solely constructed on soiled work, added 14 factors and eight rebounds.
There additionally had been 14 factors from Bam Adebayo, 12 from Max Strus and 11 from Gabe Vincent, who began instead of Lowry.
“All people else needed to step up,” Tucker stated of taking part in within the absence of Lowry.
Past these numbers was an impressed contribution from Victor Oladipo, in his first playoff motion as a member of the Warmth, absolutely in synch with the heart-and-hustle theme of the evening, closing with six factors, eight rebounds and 4 assists.
“He gave us some nice, necessary minutes, inspiring minutes,” Spoelstra stated.
For the Hawks, Trae Younger closed 3 of 11 from the sector for 9 factors, with Atlanta ending at 40 % from the sector.
The winner of this sequence meets the winner of the Philadelphia 76ers-Toronto Raptors sequence, which the 76ers lead 3-1.
“All people got here in and performed exhausting, tonight,” Tucker stated.
5 Levels of Warmth from Sunday’s recreation:
1. Closing time: The Hawks led 26-25 on the finish of the opening interval, with the Warmth then transferring to a 55-41 halftime lead, closing the second interval on a 26-4 run.
The Hawks moved again inside eight early within the third quarter, however the Warmth put collectively a 17-7 run to take an 80-61 lead into the fourth.
Not like Friday evening’s fourth-quarter collapse from 16 up, the Warmth closed it out from there, accompanied by a refrain from a bit of the group of “Let’s Go Warmth!”
It in the end left the Hawks with no solutions.
“That they had a number of strain tonight,” Younger stated. “Simply introduced the strain and we simply couldn’t match it, actually didn’t make any photographs and didn’t play effectively. And that was the results of it.”
2. Bully Butler ball: Butler stored the Warmth float offensively within the first half whereas additionally serving to management the tempo along with his bruising strategy.
Of Butler’s 19 first-half factors, 13 got here within the second quarter.
He closed 12 of 21 from the sector, with 10 rebounds.
His 11 of 12 from the road allowed the Warmth to raised dictate the tempo.
Later, within the third interval, Butler additionally drained a 3-pointer to assist quiet a Hawks rally.
“We’re all staying aggressive,” Butler stated.
He now could be averaging 30.5 factors within the playoffs.
And, no, he stated it has nothing to do with erasing the reminiscence of final yr’s playoff failure towards the Bucks.
“I don’t play the sport to show something to anyone besides myself and my guys,” he stated.
3. Final pest: Tucker was at his pest-like finest from the outset, as much as 10 factors and eight rebounds by the intermission, together with drawing the fourth foul on John Collins with 1:54 left within the first half.
Tucker stated a part of his gas was the Hawks defending him with level guards in earlier video games.
And, sure, he let Spoelstra comprehend it going into the sport.
“He yelled at me,” Spoelstra stated, “I stated, ‘All proper, feels like a good suggestion.’ “
With Dewayne Dedmon known as for 2 early fouls, the Warmth twice went with smaller-ball lineups within the first half that had Tucker at heart.
Tucker then moved again to heart with 8:29 left within the third interval, after Adebayo was known as for his fourth foul.
In that position, Tucker then was known as for a technical foul halfway by within the third interval after a verbal confrontation with Hawks backup heart Onyeka Okongwu.
“That is the playoffs,” Tucker stated. “That is what I reside for.”
4. Oladipo time: With the Warmth’s offense caught within the mud, Oladipo made his first look of the postseason, getting into with 7:53 left within the second interval, with the Warmth down six.
His entrance put the Warmth 10 deep, after Dedmon, Tyler Herro, Caleb Martin and Duncan Robinson beforehand entered off the bench.
The Warmth went on a 15-0 run shortly thereafter.
It was Oladipo’s first playoff motion since his Indiana Pacers misplaced within the 2020 first spherical to the Warmth.
Spoelstra stated Oladipo labored Saturday with the second workforce, a touch of what we to observe.
“I used to be prepared regardless,” Oladipo stated. “No person needed to inform me something.”
The Warmth had been plus-20 in Oladipo’s eight first-half minutes.
“He stayed prepared. He made it simpler that it seems to be,” Spoelstra stated. “He gave us profitable minutes.”
5. Cleansing up: The Warmth performed the primary half with out a turnover, the primary time they ever performed a postseason half with out one, outscoring the Hawks 9-0 on turnovers over the primary 24 minutes.
A cost by Adebayo with 41 seconds into the third quarter was the Warmth’s first turnover. They closed with seven, all however two effectively after the sport was determined.
“That was one of the necessary issues,” Spoelstra stated, “was actually taking management of the possession recreation.”