Knowing that with a loss their season was essentially over, the Atlanta Hawks played with desperation.
They did it from the opening tip. Atlanta’s defensive energy was better than it has been all series, and they were knocking down shots, hitting 54.8% overall on their way to 61 first-half points and a lead.
They did it again after the Heat went on a 21-0 run in the third quarter to seemingly take command of the game. The Hawks’ bench went on a 9-1 run late in the third to make it a game, and by the end the Hawks had battled back to a game that would come down to the final seconds.
That’s when Trae Young did this:
— NBA (@NBA) April 23, 2022
Jimmy Butler missed a 3 — well contested by D’Andre Hunter — and the Hawks picked up the 111-110 win. Miami still leads the series 2-1, but Atlanta has hope and hosts Game 4 on Sunday.
As big a concern as the loss, Heat starting point guard Kyle Lowry left in the third quarter with what coach Erik Spoelstra called a hamstring issue after the game, however he didn’t know the severity. Lowry will likely miss at least some time.
Erik Spoelstra says Kyle Lowry has a hamstring issue, no idea yet on severity. More tests tomorrow.
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) April 23, 2022
Everything about this game felt slightly different, including the start, which was delayed 40 minutes because of a suspicious package outside the building that forced the bomb squad to be called. Fortunately, it turned out to be nothing serious.
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) April 22, 2022
Atlanta started this game with more intent — they tried to get out and run in transition, they hunted mismatches, and it worked. Of course, it helped that the Heat started the game 5-of-20 from 3, but being home with their backs against the wall brought out the best of the Hawks.
It still almost wasn’t enough. Tyler Herro scored 24 off the bench (but the Hawks did better targeting him on defense), Jimmy Butler scored 20 with 10 rebounds and eight assists. Miami played with its usual fire in the second half.
Atlanta rose to the challenge of that for the first time this series. Young finished with 24 points, and Bogdan Bogdanovic had 18 off the bench including some key 3-pointers.
It was the best the Hawks have played in this series. Now they need to replicate it on Sunday.