Heating Up: Hawks vs. Heat Game 3 Reactionby Jacari McRae April 23, 2022 0 comments
The Miami Heat entered Friday’s game looking for a commanding 3-0 lead. As expected, the Atlanta Hawks came out fighting and competing. They led by as many as 11 points in the first half. Miami went on a huge run in the third period, leading by as many as 15. It was looking as if Miami had Atlanta on the ropes. The Hawks stormed back into the game and took the lead. Miami had a chance to win the game in the end but missed the shot. With the loss, the Heat now have a 2-1 series lead over Atlanta. Here are my takeaways from Miami’s loss.
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Late Game Struggles Return
One of Miami’s regular-season issues returned in Game 3, and that’s late-game execution. Kyle Lowry‘s absence in the fourth quarter also played a role in it. The last two possessions were awful for Miami. On the first possession, there was no ball movement while Jimmy Butler was dribbling the clock down. Butler had the ball for the majority of the shot clock while attempting a tough three-pointer. On the last play, everyone knew the ball was going to Butler. Bam Adebayo set a pindown screen for Butler, who ended up taking a fadeaway three-pointer that hit the side of the rim. Miami’s offense works well with ball and player movement. When they go away from that, you get the results you saw from Miami on Friday.
Lowry Goes Down
Lowry injured his leg in the third period of the game and had to sit out. It was later reported that he has a hamstring injury. At 36 years old, these kinds of injuries are tough to gut out. It is a tough injury for the Heat and their offense. Lowry is the guy who helps get the guys in their right spots and limits playmaking responsibilities from others. Most importantly, he’s been a main key in Miami doing well in late-game situations. Without him, that all falls to Adebayo, Butler, and Tyler Herro. Gabe Vincent has made strides as a playmaker, but he was not ready in Game 3. Should Lowry miss time, Vincent will likely start in his place. Victor Oladipo has had moments of being a good playmaker, but Miami may still go away from him in this series.
Herro Steps Up
After struggling with his shooting in the previous games, Herro looked more comfortable in Game 3. He kept getting to his spots and sinking his jumpers. Herro also attacked the basket on a few drives. In his first actual road playoff game, he appeared prepared for it. He did make a couple of mistakes in the first half. But with the way he was playing, Miami should have involved him more in the late-game actions. They might want to try that now, instead of always going with the Butler isolations. Everyone in the building knows that is where Miami is going. Herro finished the night with 24 points and seven rebounds.
Pivotal Fourth Game
Sunday’s Game 4 is going to be pivotal for both teams. For Atlanta, winning the game extends the series to six contests. If you’re Miami, that’s not something you want. With the Philadelphia 76ers one win away from the second round, the Heat cannot afford to drag this series. They are already down a player in Lowry with his hamstring injury. The Heat cannot afford to be banged up before a potential series against Philadelphia. This is why Game 4 is so important.
Next Up: Game 4 at Atlanta. Tip-off is at 7:30pm EDT.
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