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Make it three straight. The Atlanta Hawks are officially making another playoff push after a lackadaisical first half of the season. Sure, they have plenty of work left to do, but this looks like a different team than just a few weeks ago.

The hottest ticket in town on Friday night was for the game against the Miami Heat. Hawks faithful packed State Farm Arena and were treated to a barn-burner. The game came down to the final few possessions where Jimmy Butler missed two crucial shots.

It's no surprise that the Hawks got another herculean effort from Trae Young. The All-Star point guard led the team with 28 points and 7 assists. He did that while talking trash to Bam Adebayo on the court and Caron Butler on the Heat bench.

Once again, the Hawks bench played well. This time, they were buoyed by Clint Capela, who is operating under a minutes restriction. The Hawks narrowly out-rebounded the Heat 36-33. But they shot twice as many free throws, 24 compared to just 12 for the visiting team.

With Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro absent, and Jimmy Butler struggling offensively, the Heat looked to their role players. Max Strus got off to a red-hot start, and Duncan Robinson continued to show why he's one of the better shooters in the league. The Hawks were chasing the Heat around screens all night, including the final play. For once, they caught the lucky break at the end of the game.

Post-Game Interviews

Hawks head coach Nate McMillan took to the podium with his game-face still intact. "We talked about it, 48-minute game. It's going to happen. Teams are going to make runs. It's going to take 48 minutes to win a ball game, and it took all 48 minutes. I thought that last close-out by John Collins was really good. It forced the miss. We was able to finish this game."

When asked about the three-game win streak, McMillan said, "Just keep building and try to get better. We talk about things that we needed to do in the games we were losing. We're starting to see better play, more consistent play. Even though we still continue to have guys out, they're playing with a belief that they can still win the game." 

McMillan continued, "Tonight was a huge challenge, going up against Miami, who is a really good team. They've just kicked us the last two times we've played them. So I just respect the way we responded tonight. We need to continue to build and get better."

Trae Young sat down and was visibly exhausted from the game. "Like I always say, you have another day and another opportunity to really make it up and be better. I think that's what we're doing. We're just feeling good and got some wins. We just got to not be satisfied and keep it going."

The Hawks next game is Sunday in North Carolina against the Charlotte Hornets. As always, we will have plenty of content for you between now and tip-off. Stay locked into Sports Illustrated's for breaking news, highlights, and analysis.


Hawks Leaders

Trae Young - 28 PTS, 7 AST

Kevin Huerter - 21 PTS (5-9 3PT)

John Collins - 15 PTS, 7 REB

Heat Leaders

Bam Adebayo - 21 PTS, 6 REB

Duncan Robinson - 19 PTS, (5-10 3PT)

Max Strus - 15 PTS, 4 AST

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