|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The No. 1 vs. No. 8 series shifts to Atlanta after the Miami Heat won and covered in the opening two games in Miami. The Heat have now won five of the six meetings overall this season.
The saying goes that a series doesn’t start until the home team loses, but if the Hawks lose Game 3, the series would be over as no NBA team has ever escaped an 0-3 series hole.
Like the Heat, we’ve also gotten off to a fast start this series with our best bets of Heat -6.5 hitting easily in Game 1 and Bam Adebayo under 9.5 rebounds (he finished with four) sailing way under in Game 2.
Can Trae Young and the Hawks break through at home and make this a series? Or will the Heat have them thinking about Cancun in Game 4?
Heat’s Spacing and Movement Offensively Have Been Key
For the Heat to grab a commanding lead in this series, they’ll need to maintain their quality spacing offensively and good ball movement.
Love the spacing *and* activity from Miami.
Lowry on a single side to force an uncomfortable tag if necessary.
Martin/Tucker on the other side, the less feared shooters, but you have a pin-in screen to take away help + create an open triple.
Just a smart ballclub. pic.twitter.com/SxgW5yMvpy
— Nekias (Nuh-KY-us) Duncan (@NekiasNBA) April 21, 2022
The Hawks haven’t been a great defensive team all season (26th in Defensive Rating), and playing with quality spacing and movement has allowed the Heat to get open shots for shooters on the perimeter. This has also helped Miami isolate their scorers against the desired Hawks defenders while minimizing the Hawks’ ability to help, which went a long way towards Jimmy Butler’s 45-point eruption in Game 2.
Jimmy is pitching a perfect game at this point.
The action called doesn't do much on the surface, but it puts ATL in a bind.
Bc of the play, PJ is screening for KL on one side, & Trae is the nail help guy (off Strus!) on the other.
Jimmy has Gallo w minimal help present. pic.twitter.com/v2zJsNe980
— Nekias (Nuh-KY-us) Duncan (@NekiasNBA) April 21, 2022
The Heat are an incredibly deep team, and their offensive flow has helped them win with different players stepping up in Games 1 and 2. In Game 1, Duncan Robinson led the Heat in scoring with 27 points, but in Game 2, he played just seven minutes and didn’t take a single shot as the Heat prioritized defense (and played Caleb Martin over him) with Adebayo in foul trouble (and they held up very well).
Per NBA Advanced Stats, Adebayo has an 18.8% Defensive Field Goal Percentage through two games this series as his versatility is the key that holds the Heat defense together.
The Heat, with both Adebayo and backup big man Dewayne Dedmon in foul trouble, were able to play small in Game 2 and get away with it because the Hawks didn’t have a big man who could dominate on the glass or in the post.
Adebayo (quadriceps), P.J. Tucker (calf), Martin (ankle) and Markieff Morris (hip) are all questionable for the Heat to play on Friday. Gabe Vincent (toe) is probable. I’d be very surprised if any of these players aren’t available for Game 3 (with the exception of Morris, who hasn’t played in this series yet).
Hawks Need Shooters to Step Up at Home
The Hawks need to hit more outside shots and limit their turnovers better than they did in the first two games of the series. They shot 26.7% on 3s in Game 1 and 30% in Game 2, well below their regular season 37.8% mark, which ranked third in the NBA.
After going 1-of-12 from the field for a season-low eight points, Young went 10-of-20 from the field in Game 2 for 25 points. While his scoring improved, he still struggled from beyond the arc as he went 2-of-10 on 3s in Game 2 after missing all seven of his 3s in Game 1.
What may be even more concerning is that Young, who averaged 9.7 assists and 4.0 turnovers per game in the regular season, is averaging 5.5 assists and 8.0 turnovers per game so far in this series. The Hawks led the NBA with the lowest Turnover Rate in the regular season at 12.0%, but they have logged Turnover Rates of 17.4% and 18.6% in the first two games.
The Heat’s versatile defense has been very switch-heavy (while doing a nice job of mixing in coverages to keep Young off balance as much as possible) to limit open driving lanes and space on the perimeter for open shooters. This led to more misses than usual on the road, but Hawks shooters like Young, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kevin Huerter and Danilo Gallinari should shoot better in front of their home crowd.
Clint Capela (knee) remains out but will be re-evaluated on Friday.
The Hawks have also seen this defense several times and should build on their improvement from Games 1 and 2. The Hawks should also play more efficiently offensively as their shooters get a boost from playing at home.
Young has complained about the physical play in the first two games of the series, and although Vincent for the Heat thought Young got a lot of calls to go his way, Young should get a more favorable whistle at home.
On the other end, the Heat will find ways to get quality shots against the Hawks as they have through the first two games of the series, and I expect another strong performance from Butler while Adebayo plays better offensively after being limited last game due to foul trouble.
Consequently, I like the value on the over and will be playing this for a half unit at over 221.5 (with value up to 222.5).
If you want to back either team on the spread, I lean toward the Heat but will wait to get them at a better number live as the Hawks should start out strong at home in what should be a high-scoring game.
At the time of writing, Adebayo rebounding props aren’t up. We got a sweat-free cover on Adebayo Under 9.5 rebounds at +100 in Game 2, and if his rebound total is set at 8.5 or higher at -120 or better, I will be playing this for at least a unit, depending on the juice.
Adebayo is playing farther away from the basket in this matchup with the Heat’s switch-heavy defense. With John Collins starting for the Hawks instead of Capela, Collins has kept Adebayo on the perimeter more often than normal, and the absence of Capela’s elite rebounding also means Adebayo isn’t needed on the glass as much.
Pick: Over 221.5 | Heat Moneyline Live Bet | Bam Adebayo Under at 8.5 Rebounds or better (Bet to -120)