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Miami Heat plays Atlanta Hawks in the first round. How the teams have fared this season

Knocked out of the playoffs by an Eastern Conference finalist last year (eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks), The Heat will open the postseason Sunday against last season's other Eastern conference finalist. The top seeded Heat learned Friday night that their opponent in the opening round will be the Atlanta Hawks, who picked up the eighth seed by defeating the Cavaliers, 107-101, in a play-in Friday night... (Author: Gardener)

Miami HeatMiami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) scores in the final seconds of the game against the Atlanta Hawks at FTX Arena on Friday, April 8, 2022 in Miami, Florida. Knocked out of the playoffs by an Eastern Conference finalist last year, The Heat (eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks) will open the postseason Sunday against last season's other Eastern finalist. The top seeded Heat learned Friday night that their opponent in the opening round will be the Atlanta Hawks, who won the eighth seed in a 107-101 win over the Cavaliers Friday night in a play-in game in Cleveland. The Heat's first round series begins at 1 p.m. Sunday at FTX Arena, Game 2 is scheduled for Tuesday night at 7:30pm. The series then moves to Atlanta for Game 3 on Friday night at 7 on ESPN and Bally and Game 4 on Sunday night at 7 on TNT. In the Hawks, the Heat gets an offensively gifted, flammable opponent with an elite scorer in Trae Young, who led Atlanta past Cleveland by 38 points on Friday, including 32 points in the second half. The Hawks allowed 113.7 points per 100 possessions this season, ranking 26th in the league and worst among playoff teams. The Heat, on the other hand, ranked fourth in this defensive rating category, scoring 108.4 points per 100 possession. Additionally, the Hawks' top defensive lineman and rebounder, center Clint Capela, exited Friday's game with a sprained knee, putting his status for Sunday in question. Miami beat Atlanta twice in three days in January - 115-91 and 124-118. The Hawks won 110-108 in Atlanta 10 days after the second of those meetings. The Heat shot 50.9 percent from the field and 39.7 percent on three points in the season series against the Hawks. Bam Adebayo averaged 22.5 points and 6.0 rebounds against the Hawks but missed two games in the season series. The Heat was 14-2 with Max Strus starting, and three of his starts were wins over Atlanta. He averaged 12.5 points against Atlanta and sank 12 of 26 three-pointers. Kyle Lowry averaged 12.3 points in three games against Atlanta, with an assist-to-turnover ratio (16 to 8) that doesn't meet his standards. On defense, of course, the focus is on slowing down Young, who on 43.9 percent shooting averaged 25.5 points against the Heat and sunk 33 of 37 free throws. But Miami kept him at 31.4 percent shooting at three-pointers this season (11 for 35). And Young credited Heat coach Erik Spoelstra with changing up the defensive approach from us Miami during his 3 for 12 shooting performance in the second half during their game against the Heat last week. Hawks forward John Collins averaged 15.7 points and 7.7 rebounds in three games against the Heat, but his status is unclear as he was out with a right foot sprain and plantar fascia tear and a right ring finger sprain. He didn't play against Cleveland on Friday. Like Collins, Bogan Bogdanovic has averaged 15.7 points against the Heat this season. Capela averaged 11.5 points and 10.0 assists in two games against Miami. Atlanta shot 47 percent from field against the Heat in four games but made 63 turnovers compared to 89 assists. In the four games, the Heat also had 63 turnovers, but Miami gave away 108 assists. The Hawks finished the season 43-39, 10 games behind the 53-29 heat. Heat players Strus and Gabe Vincent said they want to carefully follow Friday's Cleveland-Atlanta game with no distractions around them. "I try to get some tricks of the trade for each player, see what they like to do, figure out what type I'm compatible with and how they play," Strus said after practice on Friday. "They're fun to play against, no matter which side we're playing against," said Vincent. One thing is clear: Catching the No. 1 gave Miami a clear advantage for two reasons, aside from home field advantage in the Eastern Conference playoffs: Their opponent only has one day to prepare for Game 1. The Heat will not play any of the East's top three betting favorites -- Milwaukee, Boston or Brooklyn -- until the Eastern Finals. The Heat would play the Philadelphia-Toronto winner in round two. "The Heat benefits somewhat from the bracket they're in," TNT analyst Stan Van Gundy said on a conference call Friday. "That's why you play for seeding. Of course you would rather play the eighth seed in the first round. “Same in the second round [without having to play Boston and Milwaukee. Boston has long been the best team in the east. Not having to face them or the defending champions in the second round is a big help.”

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Butler scores 45 points, Heat defeats Hawks 115-105 for a 2-0 lead

MIAMI (AP) - Jimmy Butler went off the floor when his night shift was finished, ... (Author: Gardener)

MIAMIMiami Heat guard Max Strus, left, and forward Jimmy Butler (22) move up court for a heat possession and Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young loses control of the ball in the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball playoff Series First Round, Tuesday, April 19, 2022, in Miami. Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) goes to the basket and is tackled by Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) during the first half of Game 2 of a first round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, April 19 2022, fouled in Miami. Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) is fouled by Atlanta Hawks guard Kevin Huerter (3) during the first half of Game 2 of a first round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, April 19, 2022 in Miami. Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins attempts a basket while Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) during the first half of Game 2 of a first round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, April 19, 2022 in Miami defended. Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (14) drives to the basket while Atlanta Hawks guard Delon Wright (0) drives in the first half of Game 2 of a first round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, April 19, 2022 in Miami defended. Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo, left, is fouled by Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins in the first half of Game 2 of a first round NBA basketball playoff series, Tuesday, April 19, 2022, in Miami. Atlanta Hawks guard Kevin Huerter (3) shoots during the first half of Game 2 of a first round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, 19 Miami. Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) shoots while Atlanta Hawks forward De'Andre Hunter shoots during the first half of Game 2 of a first round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, May 19. April 2022, defended in Miami. David Beckham and his daughter Harper Seven Beckham pose for a photo with Miami Heat mascot Burnie during the first half of Game 2 of a first round NBA basketball playoff series between the Miami Heat and the Atlanta Hawks, Tuesday, May 19 Miami. David Beckham stands with his daughter Harper Seven Beckham during the first half of Game 2 of a first round NBA basketball playoff series between the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks, Tuesday, April 19, 2022, in Miami. MIAMI (AP) -- Jimmy Butler got off the floor when his night shift was over, raising his arms in the air and heard a packed arena serenade him with screams. But Butler was just as good Tuesday night as he was during that bubble run — and the Miami Heat needed all his exploits. Butler posted a playoff career-high 45 points, including a personal 7-0 run down the stretch to decide the game, and the Heat held off the Atlanta Hawks 115-105 in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference first-round series Tuesday night. Butler was 15 of 25 from the floor, 11 of 12 from the line, and 4 of 7 from 3-point range. This means the top seeded Heat go to Atlanta with a 2-0 lead. Tyler Herro scored 15 for Miami while Max Strus scored 14 and Vincent added 11 for top seed Miami. Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 19 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter for Atlanta. Trae Young got his scoring touch back — he had 25 points in Game 2 after being held to eight in Game 1 — but also had a career-worst 10 turnovers for the 8th-seeded Hawks. De'Andre Hunter had 16 and John Collins finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawks. Butler's previous playoff best was 40, made twice, both in the bubble, as The Heat advanced to the 2020 NBA Finals. Bogdanovic's 3-pointer with 3:15 left put Atlanta within 104-101. "Great basketball from a great basketball player, one of the best two-way players in the game," said heat guard Kyle Lowry. Butler had a dunk, a 3-pointer and another dunk - all in the span of 56 seconds - to take things from iffy to locked, taking Miami to 10 with 1:20 minutes left and ensuring the Heat could beat the As might be expected in a playoff series, pleasantries began to be exchanged with greater regularity. The first half saw 16 fouls by Atlanta and 14 by Miami -- a season-high for the Hawks, one below a season-high for the Heat , and those 30 personals didn't even include a double technique that Lowry and Hunter got face Young picked up a technique because he argued a foul on him near the end of the third round, the capper to a stage where the Heat from just ahead went to holders of a double digit lead going into the last 12 minutes. He played the entire third quarter but only managed two shots in that span - made both - and failed to get to the foul line while committing five turnovers in that period alone. "I think the difference in tonight's game was the turnovers," said Hawks coach Nate McMillan. "You can't have 19 turnovers in a playoff game and expect to win games. They scored 21 fewer than our turnovers back and forth, the game ended for much of those first quarters, and Kevin Huerter's stepback 3-pointer with 8:59 in the third drew Atlanta within 64-62. The Hawks went almost three minutes without another goal and the game looked very different after those three minutes. The Heat went 4 to 4 in that stretch - 3 points from Butler, P.J. Tucker and Strus, with a layup from Butler also in it - and it added up to an 11-0 run that pushed the lead to 75-62. The lead stayed at at least eight points for the next 11 minutes before Atlanta began fighting back. Young hit Collins with a layup shot, and Bogdanovic's long jump took Atlanta to 94-90 in the middle of Game 4. But the Hawks never went in the lead, he said in a conversation Monday night on with Tucker resonated — Tucker basically told him to score more — and Butler listened intently. "Just elite two-way basketball that he showed tonight," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. Hawks: Atlanta had three players (Hunter, Huerter and Bogdanovic) with three fouls at halftime for only the second time this season. Among the Hawks' adjustments attempted: Collins started Game 2, and Huerter opened the game by guarding Lowry. Heat: Duncan Robinson, who made eight 3s and scored 27 points in Game 1, went without a shot in seven minutes. Going back to the end of the regular season, Miami is 8-1 in their last nine games. Miami is now 5-1 against Atlanta this season. Teams that go 2-0 up in a best-of-seven match eventually win the series 92.4% of the time The Hawks have never recovered from 0-2 down in a series (0 :25) and the Heat have never squandered a 2-0 (17-0) lead — but there were four such rallies in last season's playoffs, two by Los Angeles Clippers and two more by Milwaukee. On Jan. 1, the Hawks are an NBA best 20-3 at home.

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Heat makes a resounding opening playoff statement, crushing Hawks, Trae Young 115-91

Not necessarily to set the tone in this best-of-seven opening round NBA playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks. Not necessarily stepping on an opponent who had made it through the play-in round just 39 hours earlier. And not necessarily to confirm the off-season makeover that Kyle Lowry and P.J. (Author: Gardener)

HawksHeat guard Kyle Lowry bumps his chest with forward Jimmy Butler after a basket against the Hawks in the first half of Game 1 of their first round playoff series at FTX Arena on Sunday in Miami. That's what the Miami Heat needed when they needed it, Sunday's 115-91 win at FTX Arena. Not necessarily to set the tone in this best-of-seven opening round NBA playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks. Not necessarily stepping on an opponent who had made it through the play-in round just 39 hours earlier. And not necessarily to validate the offseason overhaul that brought Kyle Lowry and P., but to simply clean up the stench of being swept out of the playoffs by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of last season, and on again to evoke the possibilities of a franchise that has progressed too far into the 2020 NBA Finals. And what a statement it was to never allow Trae Young to find his way in a game that was effectively decided in the first half. "They were swept in here last year," Young said, "so they came out with a different energy." So it goes for Tuesday's second game after he picked up a career-playoff-high 27 points from Duncan Robinson, 21 from Jimmy Butler, 16 from Tucker, plus nine assists from Lowry and a solid inside game from Bam Adebayo. "It's always nice to get the first shot," Robinson said, "but by and large it's just the first game. Sheer misery brought on by a Heat defense that limited him to 1-of-12 shots and eight points, his lowest performance of the season and only for the third time in his career he was limited to a single basket. "Miami played on a different level," said Hawks coach Nate McMillan. "We talked in our locker room about how there's another level to get to in the playoffs." It was the Heat's first win at their home arena since the 2016 Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Toronto Raptors, with all their 2020 playoff achievements came amid Disney World's quarantine bubble. "It was an incredible atmosphere," said Robinson, "which I certainly wasn't surprised by... Five degrees of heat from Sunday's game: 1. Attack Mode: After a miserable postseason led to a humiliating 2021 offseason, Butler came out in attack mode. "Just find a way to compete," Butler said of his playoff mindset. He completed 9 of 15 from the field, with six rebounds, four assists and three steals. "We're just concentrating on how to get two zeros up," Butler said. 2. Robinson in reserve: When it comes to the NBA's Sixth Man Award, that remains Tyler Herro's Heat province. But when it comes to the postseason, Robinson seems poised for his own bench testimony. After being replaced on the starting lineup in favor of Max Strus a month ago, Robinson closed 9 of 10 from the field, including 8 of 9 on 3 pointers. "The beauty of this time of year," Robinson said, "is you just have to focus on what's in front of you." The eight 3-pointers set a franchise record and broke the record of seven he previously held shared with Mike Miller and Damon Jones. "I'm just concentrating on what I can do to help us win," said Robinson. Or as Butler said, "We saw the confident Duncan." The Heat needed Robinson's bank boost, and Herro finished with six points on 3-of-11 shooting. 3. His time: After being part of the Bucks' roster that ousted the Heat in the first round of last season's playoffs en route to Milwaukee's championship, Tucker recalled his postseason value. This time it meant 11 points in the third quarter as he shot 4 of 5 from the field while also maintaining his lockdown defense. He closed 6 of 8 from the field with five rebounds. He just does so many intangible things," said Spoelstra, who practically gushed over Tucker's defense. Tucker, who missed last Sunday's season finale in Orlando with a calf strain, said he was by no means satisfied with last season's title. "Same hunger, same intensity, if not more," he said. 4. Staying in form: Just as Spoelstra played it at the end of the regular season, he stayed true to this rotation in the playoff opener. That was what Strus had on the starting lineup alongside Butler, Adebayo, Lowry and Tucker. It also had Herro, Dewayne Dedmon, Robinson and Gabe Vincent off the bench for the first round. As was the case when the Heat closed at the end of the regular season, it meant Victor Oladipo and Markieff Morris were absent from at least the first playoff mix. 5. Numbers game: As you would expect from a veteran, Lowry tried to add perspective. "Every single game in the playoffs is a different game," he said of the magnitude of the blowout. Still, the Heat have won 13 of the last 15 series that have led them 1-0.

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Jimmy Butler is like Dwyane Wade and better now for the Heat than in the Bubble

"I'm a different player now than I was then, and I'm OK with that," Butler said. Kyle Lowry added: "He won the game for us tonight." (Author: Gardener)

Jimmy ButlerMIAMI — As of Tuesday night, the most memorable moment from Jimmy Butler's season was one the Heat would rather forget. Certainly not Erik Spoelstra, the coach who, almost a month ago, during a break on the bench, got into a roaring match with his best player that ended in tackles and an epic clipboard slam. Spoelstra, who has consistently downplayed it, brought it up in the closing moments of his post-game press conference that followed one of the best games Butler has played. "You should have seen our locker room," Spoelstra said, answering a question that wasn't even Butler related about the Atlanta Hawks beating Miami to a bunch of loose balls in the first half of Game 2. "Do you think whatever that was a month ago, you should have seen us at halftime," Spoelstra said, smiling as the words came out of his mouth, suggesting the way the heat was handling the problem Not getting enough loose balls solved consisted of yelling at each other some more. Nobody yelled at Butler on Tuesday. He ignited Miami in a good way, setting a new career high for points in a playoff game with 45 points and going on a 7-0 sprint late in the fourth quarter to earn a 115-105 win. He could shoot (15 of 25), he could shoot 3s (4 of 7 after shooting just 23 percent from deep this season) and he could make free throws (11 of 12, after a 2 of -7 effort in game 1). Butler maintained his role as the primary defender to Trae Young, who was pushed into the worst 10 turnovers of his career and had five rebounds and five assists. "He won the game for us tonight," said Kyle Lowry. "It's a team game but his performance from both sides was spectacular. “This time of year he has to be bucket fetching and Jimmy Buckets so no conversation needed for him. He understands how to play basketball and understands his spots, and making 3s takes his game to the next level.” If the butler we saw for the Heat in Game 2 is going to be who he is in the playoffs - 45 points or not - he's a changed man from the Butler, who was on the court all season for Miami. And he's, he points out, a very different player from Bubble Jimmy, who dragged the Heat into a sixth game in the NBA Finals as the No. 5 and hit his all-time playoff high of 40 points in Game 5 against the Lakers. He's making more shots, especially at the 3-point line, and making them. Despite being Miami's top scorer this season and last, Butler only averaged two 3s per game in both campaigns and made them rarely. Through two games in that series against Atlanta, which leads Miami 2-0, he's 5-of-8 from deep. "He's finally shooting them," said Gabe Vincent, a key role player off the bench for the Game 2 Heat. Now that he's shooting that 3-ball more confidently, he's making them, and it just takes his offensive play to another level." Butler attributes his spike in 3-point attempts early in the postseason to collective harassment from his teammates "Honestly, everyone just bugs me about shooting more 3-pointers, so I'm out there," Butler said said he had two conversations — one Monday night with P.J. Tucker and another Tuesday morning with Miami assistant coach Chris Quinn — about the need for him to score with a high cut in Game 2 against the Hawks. Not that he did would have avoided in Game 1, his 21 points on Sunday were right in line with his season average, but there was a collective feeling that with fresher legs and sharper game planning on the d he Hawks might have to carry the offensive of the Heat. Butler kept it easy on Tuesday afternoon, listening to Backstreet Boys, playing Spades and posting on his Instagram. Duncan Robinson, the leading man of Sunday's heat, failed to score in just seven minutes. Butler stood behind them. "I'm trying to tell you, my teammates and the coaches and everyone has so much faith in me to hit the ball and ease the ball and stop it, I'm just out there. I just take the shot the defense gives me and they've been going in lately. The larger shift over time is perhaps more important to Butler and the Heat because it relates to how he feels about his teammates and those around him. He was asked if Tuesday's game reminded him of his 2020 playoff run in the Disney bubble, and he was quick to say, "No, I'm a different player now than I was then, and I'm OK with that." When asked after explaining, he said: "I'm not that ball-dominant. We have a point guard and that's Kyle. I love him as a point guard. (If I) can't score, pass the ball. We're a different team and I'm a different player and it's better. That's how we're better.” This is Lowry's first season with The Heat. Butler's usage and assists are down compared to previous seasons, and that's by design. Neither Butler nor center Bam Adebayo are Miami's primary initiator on offense. This is Tucker's first season in Miami. With him here, Butler is no longer the best full-back in the Heat. After Game 1, Butler expressed his confidence and, more importantly, his faith in Max Strus, a first starter who didn't shoot well on Sunday but still defended by Heat standard. Butler similarly praised Vincent for his two-way performance in Game 2. The more teammates Butler trusts, the less burden he carries to do everything. He can do a little less of everything, which gives him the freedom to do something better. After Tuesday's game, a reporter compared Butler and his 3-point shooting to Heat legend Dwyane Wade, a low-percentage shooter who seemed to have a knack for knocking down open 3s at key moments in the playoffs. Spoelstra said: "It's actually a good comparison because when you get into those moments of pressure and those moments of truth when you're on the other side, would you ever want to just give Dwyane Wade an open 3? Compare to Heat Glory's flag bearer. Encouragement to the point of being asked by teammates to shoot. You could say Jimmy Buckets is in a different, better place than picking a time. "You have to have that dark side and that demeanor to push other people to be better," Lowry said. He is always on time and ready to do his thing and go into battle.

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Butler scores 45 points, Heat defeats Hawks 115-105 for a 2-0 lead

MIAMI (AP) - Jimmy Butler went off the floor when his night shift was finished, ... (Author: Gardener)

MIAMIMiami Heat guard Max Strus, left, and forward Jimmy Butler (22) move up court for a heat possession and Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young loses control of the ball in the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball playoff Series First Round, Tuesday, April 19, 2022, in Miami. Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) goes to the basket and is tackled by Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) during the first half of Game 2 of a first round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, April 19 2022, fouled in Miami. Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) is fouled by Atlanta Hawks guard Kevin Huerter (3) during the first half of Game 2 of a first round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, April 19, 2022 in Miami. Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins attempts a basket while Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) during the first half of Game 2 of a first round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, April 19, 2022 in Miami defended. Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (14) drives to the basket while Atlanta Hawks guard Delon Wright (0) drives in the first half of Game 2 of a first round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, April 19, 2022 in Miami defended. Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo, left, is fouled by Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins in the first half of Game 2 of a first round NBA basketball playoff series, Tuesday, April 19, 2022, in Miami. Atlanta Hawks guard Kevin Huerter (3) shoots during the first half of Game 2 of a first round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, 19 Miami. Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) shoots while Atlanta Hawks forward De'Andre Hunter shoots during the first half of Game 2 of a first round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, May 19. April 2022, defended in Miami. David Beckham and his daughter Harper Seven Beckham pose for a photo with Miami Heat mascot Burnie during the first half of Game 2 of a first round NBA basketball playoff series between the Miami Heat and the Atlanta Hawks, Tuesday, May 19 Miami. David Beckham stands with his daughter Harper Seven Beckham during the first half of Game 2 of a first round NBA basketball playoff series between the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks, Tuesday, April 19, 2022, in Miami. MIAMI (AP) -- Jimmy Butler got off the floor when his night shift was over, raising his arms in the air and heard a packed arena serenade him with screams. But Butler was just as good Tuesday night as he was during that bubble run — and the Miami Heat needed all his exploits. Butler posted a playoff career-high 45 points, including a personal 7-0 run down the stretch to decide the game, and the Heat held off the Atlanta Hawks 115-105 in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference first-round series Tuesday night. "We go as he goes," said heat guard Gabe Vincent. Butler was 15 of 25 from the floor, 11 of 12 from the line, and 4 of 7 from 3-point range. As such, the top-seeded Heat will go Atlanta with a 2-0 lead Tyler Herro scored 15 for Miami, while Max Strus scored 14 and Vincent added 11 for top-seeded Miami Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 19 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter for Atlanta's Trae Young Goal touchback - he had 25 points in Game 2 after being held to 8 in Game 1 - but also had a career-worst 10 turnovers for the 8th-seeded Hawks. De'Andre Hunter had 16 and John Collins finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawks. Butler's previous playoff best was 40, made twice, both in the bubble, as the Heat advanced to the 2020 NBA Finals. Bogdanovic's 3-pointer with 3:15 left put Atlanta within 104-101. "Great basketball from a great basketball player, one of the best two-wayers in the game," said heat guard Kyle Lowry. Butler had a dunk, a 3-pointer and another dunk - all in a 56 second span - around the Taking things from dodgy to suspended, taking Miami to 10 with 1:20 minutes left and ensuring the Heat would wrap up the win.As one would expect in a playoff series, pleasantries began to be exchanged with greater regularity. The first half saw 16 fouls from Atlanta and 14 from Miami — a season-high for the Hawks, one below the season-high for the Heat, and those 30 personals didn't even include a double technical that Lowry and Hunter got face-to-face, Young picked up a technical error for arguing a foul on him late in the third round, the capper to a period that saw the Heat go from just ahead to holders of a double-digit lead in the last 12 minutes. He played the entire third quarter but only managed two shots in that span - made both - and missed the foul line while committing five turnovers in that period alone. "I think the difference in tonight's game was the turnovers," said Hawks coach Nate McMillan. "You can't have 19 turnovers in a playoff game and expect to win games. They scored 21 fewer than our turnovers back and forth, the game ended for much of those first quarters, and Kevin Huerter's stepback 3-pointer with 8:59 in the third drew Atlanta within 64-62. The Hawks went almost three minutes without another goal and the game looked very different after those three minutes. The Heat went 4 to 4 in that stretch - 3 points from Butler, P.J. Tucker and Strus, with a layup from Butler also in it - and it added up to an 11-0 run that pushed the lead to 75-62. The lead stayed at at least eight points for the next 11 minutes before Atlanta began fighting back. Young hit Collins with a layup shot, and Bogdanovic's long jump took Atlanta to 94-90 in the middle of Game 4. But the Hawks never went in the lead, he said in a conversation Monday night on with Tucker resonated — Tucker basically told him to score more — and Butler listened intently. "Just elite two-way basketball that he showed tonight," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. Hawks: Atlanta had three players (Hunter, Huerter and Bogdanovic) with three fouls at halftime for only the second time this season. Among the Hawks' adjustments attempted: Collins started Game 2, and Huerter opened the game by guarding Lowry. Heat: Duncan Robinson, who made eight 3s and scored 27 points in Game 1, went without a shot in seven minutes. Going back to the end of the regular season, Miami is 8-1 in their last nine games. Miami is now 5-1 against Atlanta this season. Teams that go 2-0 up in a best-of-seven match eventually win the series 92.4% of the time The Hawks have never recovered from 0-2 down in a series (0 :25) and the Heat have never squandered a 2-0 (17-0) lead — but there were four such rallies in last season's playoffs, two by Los Angeles Clippers and two more by Milwaukee. On Jan. 1, the Hawks are an NBA best 20-3 at home.

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The Miami Heat have mastered winning with unconscripted talent

Pat Riley and the Miami Heat have signed some of the biggest names in the NBA - from LeBron James to Jimmy Butler - by turning undrafted players into rotations. (Author: Gardener)

The Miami HeatIt was an early April night and the Miami Heat had just gone up 18 points with 1:36 to play the Chicago Bulls. As coach Erik Spoelstra looked down at his bench, he called out a familiar name. Udonis Haslem, now 41 years old and with stray gray hair to prove it, got up, went to the scorer's table and checked in. Haslem, now in his 19th season, was not drafted in 2002 and played a year in France Liga with his hometown club before moving. As Haslem entered the game against the Bulls that night, he stepped on the floor with four other undrafted players: Duncan Robinson, Haywood Highsmith, Omer Yurtseven and Gabe Vincent. Every team uses undrafted players, a reality in a league with 510 roster spots (including two-way contracts) and only 60 drafts per season. However, Miami became the fourth team in NBA history this season to field at least five undrafted players in at least 65 games, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information. Of the four teams, the Heat is the only one with a winning record. The Heat have perfected the art of winning with untapped talent -- because they have to. Pat Riley, Miami team president since 1995, has endeavored to pursue big names through trade and free agency during his tenure. When he first arrived in Miami, he traded for Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway. Odom and Grant were put in the deal to acquire Shaquille O'Neal in 2004. Since taking over, Riley has hit just 14 first-round picks in 26 drafts -- and three of those have been traded in draft-night deals. To do that -- and be successful -- Miami must face its undrafted signers. "That's our organizing philosophy," Spoelstra told ESPN. We're not for everyone, but we love being dream makers." IT WAS Spring 2018, and Chet Kammerer, a longtime member of Heat's player HR department, was drafting players for the upcoming NBA draft -- one in which the Heat actually didn't have any of their favorites.At a private practice session in Los Angeles, he saw a player who didn't make many draft boards, but one he embodied for what his team had so often found: an unheralded prospect, with a defined one Role that could be a mainstay for years to come. That player was Duncan Robinson, ex-D-III transfer turned Michigan. Kammerer reached out to one of the then 24-year-old's representatives. "So, what did the boy before?" Kammerer asked. "I've just had the best shooting practice I've ever seen," he told Spoelstra. The head coach excitedly asked who the promising young candidate was. Duncan Robinson, Kammerer told him. "You mean Michigan's sixth man?" Spoelstra asked incredulously. He has his sights set on the Big Ten's 2017-18 sixth man of the year following his first professional training. After failing to be called up, Robinson signed to be a part of Miami's summer league roster. In seven games in the Sacramento and Las Vegas leagues, Robinson averaged 12.4 points and shot a searing 21 from 38 from long range. That performance helped earn him a two-way contract with the Heat. From there, Robinson spent time with Miami's G-League team, the Sioux Falls Skyforce. By the time the 2019/20 season kicked off, Robinson had earned a starting spot. Last summer, Robinson signed the largest undrafted player contract in NBA history -- $90 million over five years. Robinson's story is well known in the Miami franchise. Step 1: Find a prospect. "We're giving you the same opportunity as the #1 draft pick," says Haslem. "You have to work hard. The Heat's recipe for success really is that simple. While not every player Heat discovers becomes a success story, the organization is consistent in their search criteria. "People who care about the work and this process use," says Spoelstra. "Our coaching staff, most of them are products of our player development program. For his part, Max Strus says it is important for the team to take care of individual players. "They want to work with you and see that you're great," says Strus. “If you fully commit to the culture and the work, you will be rewarded for all the effort you put into it. That's really just the biggest thing that separates The Heat from a lot of other organizations: how much they care and want to develop guys." Spoelstra says player development boils down to the work of veterans like Haslem. "It's really our biggest thing You can put all the work into it, but when the veterans don't really encourage and enable that, it's really tough for young people in this league," says Spoelstra. "Our vets were outstanding." And the biggest vet of them all leads the charge "The reason we can get these guys to work hard is before we even approach them about basketball, we let you know that you're part of the family and we want what's best for you," says Haslem "As an undrafted guy you go into this organization and you wear that jersey, you don't have to look any further than [Haslem]," says Robinson.He loves guys with chips on their shoulders.ROBINSON BEG INNT all but 16 games he's played for the Heat in the last three regular seasons. His role changed late in the 2021-22 regular season. Spoelstra benched Robinson and put Strus - another undrafted player - on the starting lineup. With Strus as a starter, Miami went 14-2. "It's a competitive environment," says Strus. "It suits people like us because we're just trying to take advantage of every opportunity because you never know when you'll get one or if we're even going to have one." He had 27 points in Miami's 115-91 Game 1 win on Sunday against the Atlanta Hawks — which equals his best performance during a game in the regular season — and set a heat playoff record with eight 3-pointers. Miami's undrafted players collected nearly 40% of their total points this season, second best in the NBA. Robinson (10.9 points per game), Strus (10.6 PPG), Caleb Martin (9.2 PPG), and Vincent (8.7 PPG) accounted for almost 80% of that 3,595 points. On December 17, 2021, Miami's undrafted players averaged 83 points against the Orlando Magic -- the second most points by any team this season. In fact, there have been 14 instances of undrafted players who scored 70 points or more in a regular-season game this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The Heat had eight of them. Four of the top 5 games played for the Heat this season were undrafted players: Robinson (79), Vincent (68), Strus (68), and Dewayne Dedmon (67). Tucker, a 2006 second-round draft pick, was second on that list with 71. That tally propelled the Heat to a 53-win season, the first 50-win season in South Beach since the Big Three's final year in 2013. 14 -- and a No. 1 seed. "We don't have the leash that the conscripts have," says Haslem. “We don't have the luxury of making the mistakes that conscripts made. We don't have the luxury of being lazy like the conscripts. We don't have the luxury of not knowing the plays like the conscripts do. We They don't have the luxury of not playing as hard as the conscripts. We don't have that luxury if you don't get drafted.

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50 Brené Brown quotes to keep you motivated

Let these words of wisdom from public speaker and best-selling author Brené Brown guide you through life's most difficult moments. Brené Brown's 50 Quotes for Powerful Motivation featured first on Reader's Digest. (Author: Gardener)

Brené BrownIf you've never heard of Brené Brown, you're missing out on a powerful motivation. Not only is she a five-time New York Times bestselling author, but she is also an amazing speaker whose TED Talk has garnered over 50 million views online. As if that wasn't impressive enough, she's also a research professor who has spent the past few decades studying empathy, vulnerability, shame, and courage. Throughout her career she has become known for her powerful and uplifting use of words, which is why we've compiled 50 of our favorite Brené Brown quotes, covering everything from leadership quotes and Monday motivational quotes to confidence quotes and quotes about change. No matter what kind of inspiration you need, these quotes from Brené Brown will hit the spot. The following quotes aren't just good for self-motivation; They are also great for sharing with others. And in such difficult and unexpected times as these last few years, we could all benefit from some uplifting quotes and life changing quotes. While sharing a quote might not seem like much, it might be just what the people in your life need to hear to start their day off on the right foot. Check out dozens of amazing Brené Brown quotes below. We move what we learn from our minds to our hearts through our hands.” 3. “In a society that says 'put yourself last', self-love and self-acceptance are revolutionary.” 5. “But true Belonging is not something we negotiate or achieve with others. ... It's a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts." 6. "To me, a leader is someone who holds themselves accountable for seeing potential in people and processes." 8 ... "When we're ready, that Taking risks, venturing into the wilderness and even becoming our own wilderness, we feel the deepest connection to our true selves and to what matters most.” 9. “True belonging never asks us to change who we are . True belonging requires that we are who we are.” “You may not control all of the events that happen to you, but you can choose not to be reduced by them.” “Let go of who you think you are ; Embrace who you are.” Love these Brené Brown quotes? Here are some inspirational good morning quotes that will make you feel like you rule the world. "You might not have signed up for a Hero's Journey, but the second you fell, got your butt kicked, had a disappointment, screwed up, or felt your heart break, it started. It doesn't matter if we're ready for an emotional adventure—hurts happen. And it happens to each and every one of us. The only decision we have to make is what role we play in our own lives: do we want to write the story or do we want to give that power to someone else? Choosing to write our own story means feeling uncomfortable; it's about choosing courage over comfort.” “I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness—it's right in front of me if I pay attention and practice gratitude.” “If we're brave enough often enough, we'll fall . That's the physics of vulnerability.” “Talk to yourself as you would to someone you love.” “The middle is messy, but that's where the magic happens.” “Connecting the dots of our lives, especially the ones we'd rather deleting or skipping requires equal parts self-love and curiosity.” “When we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame cannot survive.” If you enjoy these Brené Brown quotes, check out the best hope quotes who will straighten you up immediately. "The truth is, falling hurts. The challenge is to continue to be brave and grope your way back up.” “There will be times when it is too difficult and too scary to stand alone and we will doubt our ability to make our way through it to find uncertainty. You don't have what it takes to survive in the wild.” That's when you reach deep into your wild heart and remember, 'I am the wild.'” “We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can't have both. "I see now that the most courageous thing is to own our story and to love ourselves during this process." "Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light." “When we combine the courage to be clear about what works for us and what doesn't, with the compassion to believe that people are doing their best, our lives change.” “Courage is contagious. A critical mass of courageous leaders is the foundation of a consciously courageous culture. Every time we are brave with our lives, we make those around us a little braver and our organizations braver and stronger.” “Brave leaders are never silent about difficult things.” “We desperately need more leaders who are committed to bold, righteous leadership and who are confident enough to lead from their hearts, rather than underdeveloped leaders who lead from pain and fear.” “Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing the right thing, which is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to live our values ​​rather than simply profess them.” “Everyone has a story or a struggle that will break your heart. And if we're really careful, most people have a story that will bring us to our knees.” “Until we can receive with an open heart, we never really give with an open heart. When we judge receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly make judgments about giving help.” “I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they draw nourishment and strength from the relationship.” “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are and embracing who we are.” “Vulnerability is not weakness. “Remaining vulnerable is a risk we must take if we are to experience connection.” “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage are not always comfortable, but they are never weakness.” “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or a deeper and more meaningful spiritual life, vulnerability is the way.” That is the truest nature of love.” “Here is what truly is at the heart of sincerity: worthy now. We are now worthy of love and belonging to be present with people without sacrificing who we are.” “You are imperfect, you are destined for battle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” Remember: love should come from within. Here are some self-love quotes that will convince you it feels like a million bucks Brené Brown's 50 Strong Motivation Quotes post appeared first on Reader's Digest.

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Stay close pull it out late? That's hardly a recipe for Bull's success against Bucks

The bulls' only chance may be to get out quickly and desperately try to hold onto the lead. Late in the games is when champions snuff out the sweet little dreams of the upstarts. (Author: Gardener)

BullLate in the games is when champions snuff out the sweet little dreams of the upstarts. Stay close pull it out late? Stay close pull it out late? That's hardly a recipe for the Bulls' success against Bucks This is hardly a recipe for the Bulls' success against Bucks. One thing Proviso East Guard Jevon Carter was sure of when he packed his bags for his freshman year in West Virginia in 2014: Although he was smaller than most, he played harder than anyone. That's why infamous Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins wanted him. Maybe one day it would be his ticket to the NBA. Then Carter came onto campus and hit "the treadmill." Carter became a two-time National Defender of the Year in part because of that treadmill. If he wanted to play for Huggins, he had to jump on board - while it was already spinning at 15 mph - and sprint 45 seconds at a time. That's why he'll be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame later this year, one suspects, and certainly has something to do with why Carter is now playing for world champion Bucks. But there was another influence on Carter's development at the time, a key to his hard-playing, defense-oriented rise that had nothing to do with a Chicago background, a treadmill, Huggins, or West Virginia basket culture. It was the NBA security guard—not a superstar, but a bad man—that Carter watched on video and mimicked his own modus operandi. "I've been watching Jrue for a long time," Carter told reporters as the Bucks and Bulls prepared for Game 2 of their first-round playoff series. Bulls rookie Ayo Dosunmu's minutes could be in jeopardy against Bucks That's Jrue Holiday like you need to be told. The holiday was a big reason the Bulls shot 21.4% off the field -- and 1:12 from three-point arc -- in the fourth quarter of a 93-86 loss in Game 1. Holiday said about those defense efforts. "I think we can improve." So much chatter about this series developing from Game 1 is beside the point. Yes, the Bulls had a chance to steal a road win in a series that the Bucks are expected to easily win. Yes, LaVine and especially DeRozan are a dangerous duo late in the games because each can make their own shot and like the big moment. Yes, it was a good sign that big man Nikola Vucevic also wanted the ball, although his sweaters didn't fall off either. "I guarantee you, I, Zach and [Vucevic] won't miss that many shots again," DeRozan said, as if the opposition didn't have much to do with it. But if there's one thing these Bucks can do, it's finish a playoff game. The Bulls, still awaiting their first playoff win in five years, are insane to think they just need to hang around, stay close and strike late. Because the Bucks' season is late. It's late when champions snuff out the upstart's sweet little dreams. Doesn't anyone remember what the Bucks did to the Suns after losing two games to none in last year's NBA Finals? In Game 3, they blitzed the Suns 30-9 and 24-6, respectively, to end the second and third quarters and didn't let guard Devin Booker breathe offensively. This was over long before the final minutes. In Game 4, Khris Middleton took over offense - he scored 40 goals, including 10 in a row - and the Bucks' defense in the fourth quarter was an even bigger story. The Suns, who lost by six, had a field goal within nearly six minutes to end the game. Giannis Antetokounmpo's key block against Deandre Ayton was an all-time highlight. In Game 5, which the Bucks won by four points, a 43-24 second quarter — the perfect quarter, really — put them back in the game after a terrible start. It was everyone's game near the end until Holiday had the sequence of his career, ripping the ball off Booker on one end and playing it to Antetokounmpo on the other end for a three-point play. And in Game 6, a close, low-scoring affair, Antetokounmpo announced he was the new best player in the world with a performance of 50 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks. But the real story of why the Bucks won: With that full defense unleashed, they held the Suns without a three-pointer for the final 15:49 of the game. Rewatch the fourth quarter of Game 6 and you might be wondering what the Bulls even have to do with this team on the court. The way the Bucks run shooters off the three-point line and force them into contested twos is perhaps their most underrated trait. It wasn't a great defensive season overall for the Bucks, but they've been locked down in the fourth quarter for a while. "When it comes to that last five minutes, that track," Holiday said, "I think we're good at locking down and locking down. . I think we take the challenge and we like it.” All aboard the playoff treadmill. Are we fighting Russia? What Switch Hitter Ian Happ's Right-Handed Rhythm Means for the Cubs For much of his major league career, Happ's splits have favored his left-handed swing. The federal mask mandate for air travel is over, but wearing a mask is still the best option. Masks are a minor — yes, minor — inconvenience to protect against COVID-19 in airports packed with travelers and airplane cabins packed with passengers.

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Dubs owner Joe Lacob pokes fun at Lakers, marvels at his genius

The Warriors are playing well, so Lacob takes a public victory lap as usual. (Author: Gardener)

Joe LacobThe Golden State Warriors are clicking at the right time. It's early in the 2022 NBA playoffs, but so far they're looking like legitimate title contenders, with two blowout wins over the overwhelmed Denver Nuggets. That's where majority owner Joe Lacob comes in, who keeps popping up for interviews when his team is in full swing. Lacob loves to bask in his own fame, and he also loves taking potshots at other franchises. From The Athletic: "Anyone who's wondered if our fans are going to show up in the playoffs can make up their own minds," Lacob said of attendance at the Chase Center in San Francisco, where ticket prices for those first ones are reported to be round series eclipses the second-highest prices in the NBA by nearly $300 a piece. https://t.co/UMhanEbYzl pic.twitter.com/1LuOYioa1n— TicketIQ (@Ticket_IQ) April 19, 2022 Lacob had more to say about doubters who wanted the dubs to pit some of their young tunes against another all- Trading Star -Caliber players at the end of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green primes. "There are a few teams, I won't say who, there are some other teams that have gone all-in with older players," was Lacob's not-very-timid assessment of the Los Angeles Lakers, along with several other teams. apparently (maybe the Brooklyn Nets?). "Older players get injured, that's what you have to think about," he added, presumably in sight of Andre Iguodala, 38, who suffered a late-onset scratch from neck cramps on Monday. "Suppose we did a swap, swapped all our youth away, 'cause I don't know, you name the guy, and they hurt, out for the year. Anytime you're past 30, 32, 35, these people get hurt. The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar, According to a... The 4 Healthiest Cooking Oils, According to a Nutritionist General Manager Bob Myers undeniably looks like a smart man and deserves plenty of credit for his Jordan Poole and Jonathan Kuminga choices — and he looks even smarter because he has the two around.But the claim that a trade for a man in his late 20s or early 30s would result in a season-ending injury isn't supported by "data," and it also ignores that one The Warriors' young trade activist James Wiseman hasn't played in an NBA game in a full calendar year.The Nuggets are missing two of their best players, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., aged 25 and 23, respectively years. Lacob, at least, wasn't ready to label the Warriors as presumptive championship favorites, which is progress for him. We'll see if he changes his tune as the Warriors quickly advance into round two.

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The Warriors' best defense against Nikola Jokic

Heads began to turn and the crowd rose to see DeMarcus Cousins ​​and Will Barton face to face, the Denver bench in a kerfuffle. As teammates pulled the two apart, Draymond Green was in center court, directing the crowd to get loud. "I just saw them arguing," Green said. (Author: Gardener)

Nikola JokicSAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 18: Draymond Green (23) of the Golden State Warriors battles for the ball against Nikola Jokić (15) in the second quarter of Game 2 of the team's first round NBA Basketball Playoff Series in the chase from Denver Nuggets Center in San Francisco, California on Monday, April 18, 2022. SAN FRANCISCO -- Unrest disrupted a routine timeout midway through the third quarter. Heads began to turn and the crowd rose to see DeMarcus Cousins ​​and Will Barton face to face, the Denver bench in a kerfuffle. As teammates pulled the two apart, Draymond Green was in center court, directing the crowd to get loud. "I just saw them arguing," Green said. The crowd should notice this and be very loud. Perhaps this was the game plan all along, or an unintended consequence of a talented team finding their best chemistry at the right time. But something about the Warriors' style got under the skin of the Nuggets and festered, resulting in another Warriors loss, 126-106 to extend their playoff lead to 2-0 as they trailed for Games 3 and 4 Denver travel. "It was a lot of fun," Green said. “When you beat a team like we did the first time, they come out and give you their best shot and they did and we took the hit on the chin. We have the game under control.” Faced with the challenge of taking on a vengeful Nikola Jokic in Game 2, the Warriors tactfully wore the stoic MVP to the core. After holding Jokic to an inefficient 25 points on 25 shot attempts on Saturday, Green predicted ahead of Monday's game that Jokic would shoot to 40 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists -- a line Jokic is good at. He seemed ready for a big game early on, picking up double figures early on and scoring two quick fouls on Kevon Looney within the first few minutes. The Nuggets led by as much as 12 points in the second quarter. But the Warriors didn't shrink, they wore their confidence on their sleeves. Jokic didn't take this well and turned to Payton II to argue. "Frustration usually shows in body language," Green said. “That's just one way I'm trying to read. They try to read interactions with teammates and how someone reacts to their teammates. "If you feel like you're getting under their skin, you push a little harder. If you don't feel like you're getting under their skin, you push a little harder.” The Warriors' three-man lineup of Jordan Poole, Klay Thompson, Steph Curry, Andrew Wiggins and Green is designed to frustrate. Coach Steve Kerr used it again to wrap up the second quarter with results similar to the first game. The new death lineup put on a 12-0 run and then ended their six minutes along with a 22-6 run that turned a six-point deficit into a six-point lead at halftime. Soon the Warriors just played. Poole knocked down tricky step-back 3-pointers and made quick assists behind his back. Curry hit a falling three-pointer, watched it progress from the floor, and spun up to perform his four-point countdown dance. It no longer mattered who was on the pitch - which line-up was most effective, how they defended Jokic - the Warriors directly demoralized their opponent. A stifling mix of deserved arrogance from the three-time champion core mixed with the sly confidence of Poole, Wiggins and Payton II saw the Warriors win 44-30 in the third quarter - their most in a third quarter in a playoff game under Kerr. The Nuggets' frustration peaked in the fourth quarter. Jokic fouled Wiggins and jabbed the ball in frustration, earning his second technical foul of the game and an ejection. He would not end his revenge game. Could the best defense against Jokic be a demoralizing offense? But Green, Looney and Payton II also did a lot of dirty work. Green, in particular, fell under Jokic, limiting his score to 26 points on 9-of-20 shooting - an inefficient line for a player who almost always gets what he wants. "Draymond, I just don't know what to say about him," Kerr said. Draymond dominated that game.” Between the breaks - with the Warriors leading - Green danced to P-Lo at the free-throw line and blew kisses to his family in the crowd. The Warriors just dipped their toe into playoff madness again -- two wins in a first-round series doesn't mean much. Against an immobile object like Jokic, fear is perhaps Golden State's unstoppable power.

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