Erik Spoelstra always preaches to his team that “if you don’t have a defensive mindset, Heat Culture might not be the place for you.”
This was evident after Miami put the clamp on the Atlanta Hawks in their 115-91 blow out in game 1 of the first round.
The Heat’s length, closing speed, and overall tenacity appeared to wear down the Hawks as they shot 38.7% from the field and 27.8% from three point range.
To make matters worse for Atlanta, Trae Young and Bogdan Bogdanovic combined to shoot 1-20 from the field and 0-11 from deep.
After finishing the play-in to claim the 8th seed and facing off a well rested Heat team, Hawks head coach Nate McMillan shot down any questions of fatigue. “No, no. I don’t think it’s tired legs. I think Miami played another level. We talked about that in our locker room. In the Playoffs, there’s another level that you have to get to. They already play with a high intensity and aggressiveness every possession, and they showed us tonight that there’s another level that we have to get to in order to compete in these Playoffs.”
On the flip side, Duncan Robinson had himself a night to remember. The sharpshooter knocked down 8 of 9 three-pointers, finishing with a game-high 27 points.
Jimmy Butler added 21 points while Kyle Lowry and company made most of their impact on defense, forcing an uncharacteristic 18 turnovers from the Hawks.
The Heat have owned the Hawks as of late, winning 4 of their last five games dating back to the beginning of the regular season. Miami will look to go up 2-0 on Tuesday night and try to once again force turnovers and dominate the paint as Hawks Center Clint Capela is not expected back any time soon.
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