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The Hawks entered the halfway point of the regular season on a three-game losing streak and reeling from a polarizing trade. Simply put, they needed a win tonight. Unfortunately, the Miami Heat were hot, having won three consecutive games. Even worse, they just got Jimmy Butler back from an ankle injury. 

After a dreadful start where the Hawks defense surrendered 40 points in the first quarter, their second unit sparked a 40-point second quarter to take a six-point lead into the half. The third quarter was evenly matched, but the Heat pulled away in the end to win 124-118.

No surprise, Trae Young led the Hawks with an efficient 24 points and 9 assists. The only Hawks player capable of outshining Young was De'Andre Hunter. In addition to playing stellar defense, Hunter scored 20 points on 70% shooting. 

Tonight, the Hawks bench played well. Danilo Gallinari scored 18 points, Kevin Huerter chipped in 15 points, and Delon Wright added 8 points. Their box plus/minus was far better than the starters and looked good with no Cam Reddish. Maybe addition by subtraction? Only time will tell.

The Heat had seven players score in double digits. The Hawks defense had no answers for the future 2022 Southeast Division Champs. The Heat shot 53.2% from the field and 46.7% from deep. With no Clint Capela, the Heat were able to eat inside as well. They outscored the Hawks in the paint 46-28. 

Post-Game Interviews

Hawks head coach Nate McMillan believed his team played well enough to win. "We just made some mistakes going down the stretch in the fourth quarter. We didn't execute offensively. Had a couple bad fouls. Gave up a couple loose balls (those 50-50 balls we got to get those). We just didn't execute in that fourth quarter, and it cost us tonight."

Moving forward, McMillan said, "Now we have to build off of this and get back to finishing games. I thought we did some good things defensively. Offensively was able to score. That's a really good team over there, and we had control of this game for most of the second half. Now you have to finish. You have to learn how to win games like this."

Trae Young praised the play of the second-string, specifically name-checking Delon Wright and Onyeka Okongwu. As for the starters, Young said, "I think we just need to play at the pace we did on both ends. I think we had some mental errors late in the game that we can figure out and fix for tomorrow. But we just got to be better, but it was a good stretch we had in the first three quarters."

The Hawks play again tomorrow night in Atlanta against the New York Knicks. As always, we will have your scouting report in the morning, live-tweet the game, and recap the action afterward. So stay locked into Sports Illustrated's


Hawks Leaders

Trae Young - 24 PTS, 9 AST

De'Andre Hunter - 20 PTS, 3 BLK

Danilo Gallinari - 18 PTS, 5 REB

Heat Leaders

Tyler Herro - 24 PTS, 3 AST

Jimmy Butler - 23 PTS, 10 AST

Omer Yurtseven - 17 PTS, 11 REB

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