The Atlanta Hawks are always ready to give you a fight, especially when it’s a high stakes game. That’s what they did early in Game 2, where they even grabbed a 50-46 lead with 3:56 left in the second quarter.
That would end up being the biggest lead for Trae Young and the Hawks, though, as Jimmy Butler decided that he would not be denied. Whenever the Heat needed a score, Butler was there to help them.
Butler’s performance put him in some rarefied company. He became the third Miami Heat player to score 40 or more in at least three playoff games for the Miami Heat. The other two to achieve the feat are LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Butler finished the game with 45 points, five rebounds, and five assists while shooting 15 of 25 from the field and 4 of 7 from beyond the arc.
Additionally, Butler became the second player in NBA history to score at least 45 points with no fouls or turnovers, with Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins being the last to do it in a game 24 years ago against the Boston Celtics on May 22, 1988. It was quite the feat, considering how much easier it is to get called for a foul in the modern NBA.
The Heat, who had a bit of turmoil near the end of the season, clearly look like they’ve put it behind them. They’re taking care of business, have the 2-0 lead, and their best player is turning it on. The Hawks will continue fighting hard, but they’ve got a lot to do if they want to make it a series again.
The first thing the Hawks will need to do is watch their turnovers, especially Young, who finished the game with 25 points, six rebounds, seven assists, and a whopping 10 turnovers. Young also shot 2 of 10 from three-point range.
Bogdan Bogdanovic did his best to keep the Hawks close, with 29 points, four rebounds and three assists off the bench while shooting 12 of 18 overall and 5 of 10 from long range. They’ll need more of that if they’re going to get a win at home in Game 3.