Atlanta Hawks hammer Miami Heat, clinch NBA playoff berth

MIAMI, April 11 (UPI) -- Trae Young glided around defenders for smooth scores and dished out acrobatic assists to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a dominant win over the Miami Heat in an NBA play-in tournament game Tuesday in Miami.

"We were just the more physical team," Young told reporters after the 116-105 victory at the Kaseya Center.


"That was a big emphasis tonight, being more physical and playing faster. We were playing more in attack mode and in transition and that helped."

Young scored a team-high 25 points and logged seven assists and eight rebounds. The Hawks shot nearly 47% from the field and out-rebounded the Heat 68-50.

"We've got some guys who like to do it," Hawks coach Quin Snyder said, when asked about the rebounding advantage. "It's something important to our team. ... Our guys played hard."


With Tuesday's triumph, the Hawks clinched the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference and will face the No. 2 Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.

The Heat will now face the winner of the other Eastern Conference play-in game, contested between the Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors, for the No. 8 seed and final spot in the playoff field.

Young's offensive brilliance -- paired with dominant offensive and defensive rebounding -- doomed the Heat throughout Tuesday's setback. Hawks center Clint Capela totaled just four points, but pulled down 21 rebounds and was a menace around both rims.

Veteran guard Kyle Lowry scored a game-high 33 points off the Heat bench. Fellow Heat guard Tyler Herro and forward Jimmy Butler scored 26 and 21 points, respectively, in the loss.

Butler scored the first two points of the game. The Hawks responded with an 11-2 run and took a 34-27 edge into the second quarter.


Young and Hawks forward DeAndre Hunter scored eight points apiece over the first 12 minutes. Butler scored 10 for the Heat.

The Hawks scored the first two baskets of the second as part of an 11-3 run. They pushed that lead to as many as 24 points in the quarter. The Heat scored 11 unanswered toward the end of the quarter, but still trailed 65-50 at halftime.

The Heat opened the second half with a 10-2 run. They cut the Hawks lead to five less than five minutes into the third quarter, but never got closer. The Hawks scored six unanswered points to end the quarter and carried a 91-78 edge into the fourth.

The Heat used a 13-4 run to cut the deficit to six with 7:42 remaining. The Hawks answered once more to shut the door on the final Heat rally.

The No. 10 Chicago Bulls will meet the No. 9 Toronto Raptors in the second Eastern Conference play-in game Wednesday in Toronto. That game will tip off at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

The loser of the Raptors-Bulls matchup will be eliminated from playoff contention. The winner will meet the Heat on Friday in Miami. The winner of that game will clinch the No. 8 seed and will face the No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs.


The No. 10 Oklahoma City Thunder also will take on the No. 9 New Orleans Pelicans in a Western Conference play-in game at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday on ESPN.

The winner of that game will face the No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers or No. 8 Minnesota Timberwolves in the final Western Conference play-in game.

Latest Headlines