The 2023 play-ins kick-off with an Eastern Conference rematch from last year’s first-round match-up, where the Miami Heat won, 4-1. They are in great shape for Wednesday too as they won the regular season series, 3-1, and this one-off will be in South Beach. We’ll see if they can capitalize.
Catch the game on Wednesday, April 12, at 7:30 AM, Manila time.
HOME: Miami Heat (44-38, 27-14 HOME)
Projected starting five:
- Gabe Vincent
- Tyler Herro
- Jimmy Butler
- Bam Adebayo
- Kevin Love
The Heat had a rocky 2022-23 regular season, but they closed it out by winning four of their last five contests. They scored 121.4 points per game in that stretch with a +11 net rating. The season series vs. the Hawks doesn’t have that wide of a gap (116.5 PPG, +2.5 net rating), but capturing three of the four meetings certainly gives them the confidence.
As per usual, Jimmy Butler is entering the postseason with good momentum. He turned it up yet again after sleepwalking in the first half of the season, especially recently. The 33-year-old has posted 26.6 points, 6.0 assists, and 1.4 steals per game on a smooth 61% shooting over his last 12 outings.
Second and third scorers Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro will be right there with him, though it may probably more of the former. Adebayo has an all-around 24.5/9.5/4.0/1.8/1.8 with a 61.7% clip in the season series; Herro, in comparison, only mustered 14.8 PPG on a rough 35.9% shooting.
The Heat are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games.
AWAY: Atlanta Hawks (41-41, 17-24 AWAY)
Projected starting five:
- Trae Young
- Dejounte Murray
- Saddiq Bey
- DeAndre Hunter
- Clint Capela
The Hawks epitomized being a “purgatory team” this season. They are 41-41, were either .500 or one game within that mark in their last 36 games, and their final regular season net rating is +0.4 (118.4 PPG vs. 118.1 PAPG). As such, there’s no telling which Hawk team is going to take the floor.
Obviously, the good one has to show up on Wednesday, and their backcourt will have to lead the way. Sadly, Trae Young only posted 19.8 PPG on an abysmal 35.9% shooting in the season series, and Dejounte Murray was at an okay-ish 18.5 PPG with a horrific 29.6% clip from three. The good thing, however, is there are plenty of other options: six other Hawks averaged in double figures against Miami this season – Clint Capela, John Collins, DeAndre Hunter, Saddiq Bey, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and rookie AJ Griffin.
The Hawks are just 2-6 ATS in their last eight games.
Handicap: The Heat (-5) fail to cover the spread.
Over/Under: The total goes over 227.