Right now, it’s Jimmy Butler’s world, and we’re all just living in it. After exploding for 45 points on Tuesday night, Butler led the Heat to a 115-105 victory and a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven series with the Atlanta Hawks.
The series will head to Atlanta for Game 3 on Friday night, as the Hawks will look to avoid going down 3-0 and being pushed to the brink of their playoff lives. Let’s have a closer look at how these teams match up for Game 3 so you can place your bets against their NBA Playoffs Odds.
NBA Playoffs Western Conference Game Three – Miami Heat at Atlanta
Trae Young Back to Making Impact
After scoring just 8 points in Game 1 of the series, Trae Young came to life in Game 2, scoring 25 points with seven assists and six rebounds.
However, Young also turned the ball over ten times. Young was helped in the scoring department by Bogdan Bogdanovic, who led the Hawks with 29 points.
Bogdanovic hit five three-pointers and was 12-18 from the field. De’Andre Hunter scored 16, and John Collins chipped in 13 for the Hawks.
After Butler’s 45, Tyler Herro was the second-leading scorer with 15 points. Max Strus scored 14, while Gabe Vincent tallied 11. Butler wasn’t to be stopped, as he single-handedly broke open a tight game late in the fourth quarter.
Butler is playing like the man who nearly led the Heat to an NBA title while playing in the bubble two seasons ago. If he continues at this pace, the Heat will be hard to stop.
Looking forward to Game 3, Atlanta will definitely need all the help that they can get from their home fans. While Young picked up the scoring in Game 2, his ten turnovers hurt the Hawks. While Bogdanovic played well, the Hawks are going to need others to step things up.
In looking at the advanced statistics for Game 2, every Hawk that played, with the exception of Bogdanovic and Delon Wright, were in the negative for the +/-. Young was a -11 for the game, while Kevin Huerter was a -17. Atlanta can’t afford to have those kinds of stats in Game 3 if they want to survive.
Miami Heat Over-relying on Butler to Perform
Miami can’t continue to rely on Butler to play like he has in the first two games. They’re going to need more contributions from Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry. Adebayo only scored 9 points in Game 2, while Lowry only scored nine himself.
Lowry was brought in because of his vast playoff experience and his success in his playoff career. Duncan Robinson, who was huge in Game 1, only played six minutes in Game 2 and didn’t score. We’ll see if he sees more floor time in Game 3.
If Atlanta doesn’t want to fall into a 3-0 hole, they’ll need to do a better job of containing Jimmy Butler. Trae Young will need to take better care of the ball, and Atlanta will need some of their other players to step things up.
If Miami can get Adebayo and Lowry to play better, the Hawks are going to be in trouble. We also have to credit Miami’s defense, as they have been very good on that end of the floor thus far.
We’ll see if the Hawks can win at home or if they’ll be playing for their playoff lives in Game 4.