Staring a 3-0 series deficit in the face, down by double digits going into the fourth quarter following an absurd 21-0 Miami Heat run, the Hawks somehow came through with a little magic to keep their season alive.
The key to the run was Bogdan Bogdanovic, who hit three critical three-pointers to cut the lead to three with just under five minutes left to play, erupting a packed State Farm Arena that had gone dormant during the third quarter. Then, Trae Young found some rhythm for the first time all series, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
With three-and-a-half minutes to play, Young hit a driving floater in the lane that resulted in an and-one, tying the game up at 101 apiece. The Heat would respond with a three, but Young again answered right back from behind the arc, and Onyeka Okongwu would put away an and-one off an offensive rebound the next time down to give the Hawks a three-point lead.
The back and forth would continue for the next few possessions. Jimmy Butler hit a three to tie the game, followed by two Trae Young free throws, which was then followed by a corner three from P.J. Tucker to give the Heat a one-point lead with under a minute to go.
On the next possession, Kevin Huerter would come up short on a deep three, which gave the Heat an opportunity to ice the game — one they were not able to take advantage of. Butler would miss a contested 22-foot jumper, and the Hawks were able to quickly get the ball downhill to Trae Young, who wasted no time attacking the paint and getting to the middle of the lane for his patented floater, which hit just about every part of the rim before dropping with just over four seconds left to play.
The Heat had one final chance to win the game, but De’Andre Hunter forced Jimmy Butler to take a contested three-point jumper fading away from the basket, which came up short, giving the Hawks a 111-110 victory in Game 3.
I’m not sure how many teams in the history of basketball have won a game in which they allowed the opposing team to go on a 21-0 run, especially in the playoffs. It looked like the Hawks’ season was over, and it is just a testament to this team’s resiliency, which has shown time and time again over the last two years. These guys can never be counted out, and now they have new life, which can be a dangerous thing in a seven-game series. If Clint Capela can somehow make it back out on the court, who knows, perhaps the Hawks have a little more magic left the rest of the way.
Photo: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire