Hawks vs. Heat Game 5 Preview: Butler & Miami To Eliminate Atlanta

In 76 regular-season games, Young scored at least 13 points all but once. in four playoff games, he's scored nine or fewer points twice. Roberto Arguello breaks down Tuesday's Game 5 between the Hawks and Heat:

Hawks vs. Heat Odds

Hawks Odds +7.5
Heat Odds -7.5
Over/Under 217.5 (-115 / +100)
Time 7 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Heat host the Hawks on Tuesday night as they look to advance to the second round after taking a 3-1 series lead with a dominant Game 4 win on the road.

The Heat will be without starting point guard and key offseason acquisition Kyle Lowry in this game like they were in Game 4, but their defense has continued to shine in his absence.

They have held the elite Hawks offense in check, as Trae Young has had two of his worst performances all season in the first four games of this series. In 76 regular-season games, Young scored at least 13 points all but one time, but in four playoff games, he has scored nine or fewer points twice.

Will Young and the Hawks figure out the Heat’s defense on the road and keep their season alive, or will the Heat end their season with a gentleman’s sweep? Let’s break down the matchup below.

Can Young and the Hawks Figure It Out?

If the Hawks cover or pull the upset in Game 5, they need Young to thrive as a facilitator and scorer while shooters step up around him.

The Hawks were an elite offensive team in the regular season and a poor defensive team, and as their offense has stagnated against the Heat, they find themselves on the brink of elimination.

The Hawks led the NBA in half-court offensive rating (101.1) in the regular season (excluding garbage time, per Cleaning The Glass), but in the playoffs, they rank 15th out of the 16 playoff teams with a 92.1 half-court offensive rating. This would have ranked 25th in the regular season, just ahead of the Knicks.

As discussed, Young has had two of his lowest-scoring games of the year so far in this series, but he has also been inefficient as a facilitator. After averaging 9.7 assists and 4.0 turnovers per game in the regular season, he has averaged six assists and six turnovers per game in this series.

Young’s struggles as a scorer and passer illustrate how hard it has been for him to get into the paint against the Heat’s stout versatile defense led by Bam Adebayo. That’s why he has attempted more 3s (33) than 2s while shooting just 21.2% from beyond the arc.

The Hawks defense that finished 26th in defensive rating still has its flaws, so they need to have their perimeter shooters like Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kevin Huerter step up against the Heat to win in a shootout.

Not only has Young struggled from beyond the arc, but Bogdanovic and Huerter are shooting 23.6% and 27.2% on 3s, respectively, so far in this series.

The Hawks need them, along with Young, to have a breakthrough performance in Game 5.

Butler and the Heat Are Thriving

If the Heat win and cover in Game 5, it will be because they continue to play strong defense on Young and Jimmy Butler continues to lead the offense while they play with quality spacing and ball movement.

Butler has been spectacular overall this series while averaging 30.5 points per game on a very efficient 131.2 points per 100 shots (excluding garbage time, per Cleaning The Glass).

When the Heat are at their best, they shut down the paint defensively (they led the NBA with just 41.0 points in the paint allowed per game) their opponents miss jump-shots with long rebounds that kickstart their transition offense going down the other end.

Cutting off Young’s drives has been key, but playing with quality spacing furthers their advantages as they have shooters and smart players who make timely cuts.

It’s key that the Heat continue to play with quality ball movement as they, and Butler, are much better when avoiding isolation basketball. Ball movement will continue to be key without Lowry available — the Heat will have only one true point guard available in Gabe Vincent.

Ball movement and spacing have been key against a poor Hawks defense that will give away points at times with poor rotations.

Hawks-Heat Pick

Expect the Heat to close out the Hawks in Game 5 at home as they are the better team, and it seems unlikely that the Hawks both overcome the Heat’s swarming defense and drastically improve their defense here on the road.

While I lean toward the Heat to cover the spread at -7, there’s better value elsewhere. I like Young’s point total to stay under 25.5 at -106 on FanDuel. You can take that alone or parlay it with the Heat to win outright at +138 together in a correlated parlay.

Additionally, the Hawks have held leads in all four games so far this series, and against a Heat team that frequently allows 3-point attempts, there should be opportunities to bet the Heat at -3 or better on the live spread/moneyline.

Pick: Trae Young Under 25.5 & Heat ML Parlay or Heat Live ML at -3 or better