Jimmy Butler’s 45 propels Heat to 115-105 win over Hawks, leads series 2-0 – The Mercury News

It is the next gear that creates the fear.

Sunday, in Game 1 of this best-of-seven first-round playoff series, came in the second quarter, when the Miami Heat decided a loss was better than doubt, in what turned into a landslide victory. of 24 points.

On Tuesday night at FTX Arena, Erik Spoelstra’s team this time moved up a level in the third quarter behind Jimmy Butler’s play en route to a 115-105 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

Butler led the Heat with a playoff career-high 45 points, an effort that included four 3-pointers.

“He was really assertive,” Spoelstra said. “He is just a winner and he showed it tonight.”

With a 2-0 series lead, the Heat now head into Friday and Sunday games at State Farm Arena, having shown Tuesday that they can win even when Hawks guard Trae Young he actually makes shots and even with center Bam Adebayo he has yet to catch up to his series pace. .

“They have all our respect,” Spoelstra said.

With Butler’s offense more than enough to offset Young’s 25 points, the Heat were able to overcome early turnovers, a shaky shutdown problem and fouls for Adebayo.

Bogdan Bogdanovic added 29 points for the Hawks.

“Honestly, he won the game for us,” Heat point guard Kyle Lowry said of Butler.

As good as the Heat were in the third, and as much as they carried that momentum into the fourth, building a 16-point lead, it all came down to the final minutes, the Hawks far more competitive than they were in Game 1.

“All we did was take care of the home,” Lowry said. “We understand that they play better at home.”

Five degrees of heat from Tuesday’s game:

1. Closing time: The Heat led 26-25 late in the first period, 56-54 at halftime and then built a 14-point lead in the third on a 16-4 run before taking an 87-76 lead in the fourth.

The Heat then took a 16-point lead early in the quarter, but a 13-0 run pulled the Hawks within 94-91 with 6:27 left.

A 3-point play by Lowry with 5:41 remaining increased the Heat’s lead to 100-93, with Butler’s steal and score pushing the lead to 102-93.

But on a 3-pointer by Young, the Hawks got back to 102-98 with 4:24 remaining, with a 3-pointer by Bogdanovic later bringing Atlanta within 104-101.

After the Heat advanced 106-101, Spoelstra won the coach’s challenge, Butler hit a 3-pointer and that was it.

Spoelstra said it was the Heat’s early inefficiency that lit the fire, comparing it to the team’s lateral scrum a month ago.

“Whatever it was a month ago,” Spoelstra said, “you should have seen our locker room at halftime.”

2. Butler time: There was little pretension from Butler other than eyes at the rim, closing 15 of 25 from the field, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range, as well as 11 of 12 from the line.

Butler said a conversation with the veteran power forward provided the impetus for Tuesday.

“He told me, ‘Go out there and score, make sure we win,’” Butler said.

Factoring in his five rebounds and five assists, Butler joined Dwyane Wade and LeBron James as the only Heat players to go 45-5-5 in the postseason, the first to do so without turnovers.

“He knows how to win,” Spoelstra said.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Butler became the fifth player since 1978 with 45 points and no turnovers in a playoff game, joining Dominique Wilkins, Paul Pierce, Kevin Durant and Jamal Murray.

It was Butler’s third 40-point postseason game with the Heat, tying him with James’ total, four short of Wade’s franchise record.

“We still have two more to go against this team,” Butler said.

3. Bad Mood: Adebayo, in the midst of an uneven start to the series, was forced to return to the bench with his fourth foul just 1:22 into the second half.

With backup center Dewayne Dedmon already fouled three, Spoelstra chose Caleb Martin, who had been out of the rotation and limited to cleanup duties in Game 1. Martin had entered late in the second period, after Adebayo and Dedmon they had been eliminated. they called their third fouls.

The ledger quickly equalized, with Atlanta’s De’Andre Hunter and Bogdanovic each penalized for their fourth foul soon after.

But then, with 2:37 remaining in the third, the Heat’s starting power forward, PJ Tucker, was called for his fifth foul.

“I think Caleb gave us some really good minutes,” Spoelstra said, with Martin playing 17:06.

Adebayo had been limited to six points and six rebounds in Sunday’s series opener, this time closing out with nine points and four rebounds.

4. Young at the start: Limited to eight points in Game 1, Young reached that total with 3:20 remaining in the opening period, with Atlanta transitioning out before the Heat set up their defense.

Young closed out the first quarter with 10 points and went as high as 18 at halftime.

Young had gone 1-for-12 from the field on 0-for-7 from 3-point range in Sunday’s series opener.

This time, turnovers plagued Young, and his ninth gave him the most in the postseason by a Heat opponent, closing with a career-high 10.

The other time was also the harassing defense of Heat guard Gabe Vincent.

“Try not to let him get the ball, that’s the best way to protect him,” Vincent said. “Any way I can interrupt it, I try.”

Young was 10-for-20 from the field, but just 2-for-10 from 3-point range.

5. Alternative Atlanta Approach: With center Clint Capela questionable for the series after hyperextending his right knee in Friday night’s win at Cleveland, Atlanta opened this time around with a smaller ball lineup, with West Palm Beach Cardinal product Newman John Collins in center.

It was Collins’ first start since March 11. He had been out ever since with toe and foot injuries before returning as a reserve in Game 1. The Hawks had started Onyeka Okongwu at center in Game 1.

Collins closed with 13 points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes.

“Collins adds a totally different mix because of his scoring ability,” Spoelstra said.


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