Miami Heat look to close out series vs. Atlanta Hawks tonight in Game 5

Miami Heat huddle (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Miami Heat huddle (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Miami Heat are hoping to punch their ticket into the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. 

The Miami Heat are up 3-1 in a first-round matchup vs. the Atlanta Hawks. Game 5 moves the series back to Miami, where the Heat are looking to close out round one.

Can Trae Young and the Hawks find a way to stay alive in this series, or will Jimmy Butler and the Heat end the Hawks’ season tonight?

Atlanta will face their biggest test of the season tonight in Game 5. The Heat do not want to extend this series any longer than it needs to be. I expect them to come out tonight and take care of business.

Miami will be without their starting point guard, Kyle Lowry. He has a hamstring injury and it feels like the Heat are trying to rest him for the next round, and win without him tonight. This same injury kept him out of Game 4, where Miami still won by 24 points.

The consistent narrative among a lot of NBA media and analysts is that Jimmy Butler is not built for the regular season, but he is built for the playoffs. This is proving to be true again. Butler carried the Miami Heat to the NBA Finals in 2020, falling short to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Butler is once again proving that the playoffs are his time to shine. He leads the team in scoring 30.5 points, and steals with 2.8 per game, in the playoffs. The next highest scorer for Miami in the postseason only averages 13.8 points per game, nowhere close to Butler. He also plays about 9-10 more minutes per game than any other player for the Heat.

There are no questions that Butler is Miami’s best player, but the Heat’s roster is full of high-level NBA talent. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has a variety of players that he can insert into the game for a spark of energy. There are so many unselfish players for Miami, and that is what Heat culture is all about.

Bench players mean just as much to a team as the starters do, and that has stayed true for Tyler Herro. He is the favorite to win the 2022 NBA sixth-man of the year award. Herro has had an average postseason so far, but he is the type of player that can heat up in the blink of an eye.

Through four games in the first round, Herro averages 12.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game.

The Heat have a great rotation of players, and coach Spoelstra knows how to get the most out of his players and when to play them. Butler leads the team with 37.3 minutes played per game, but there are seven players who all play at least 23 minutes per contest.

All but two of the players on the Heat’s roster play double-digit minutes in the playoffs.

Miami has one goal on their mind, a championship. That’s why they brought in veteran leadership with championship DNA. Kyle Lowry won a title with the 2019 Toronto Raptors, and PJ Tucker won a title last season with the Milwaukee Bucks.

One more win will end the first-round series with the Hawks. Next up (if they can take care of Atlanta) for Miami is the winner of the Raptors vs. 76ers series, where Philly holds a 3-2 series lead heading into Game 6. The Heat will be without Kyle Lowry tonight, along with PJ Tucker and Caleb Martin being questionable.

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Do the Hawks have an answer tonight, or is Jimmy Butler going to take over and send the Hawks packing?