Jimmy Butler scored a career-high 45 points in the playoffs, including a personal 7-0 run in the closing stages, and the Miami heat held the Atlanta Hawks 115-105 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference first round Tuesday night.
Tyler Herro scored 15 for Miami, Max Strus scored 14 and Gabe Vincent added 11 for Miami, who took a 2-0 lead over the eighth seeded Hawks.
Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 19 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter for Atlanta. Trae Young scored 25 for the Hawks, while De’Andre Hunter had 16 and John Collins finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawks.
Butler’s previous playoff record was 40, made twice, both on the bubble when the Heat reached the 2020 NBA Finals. The Heat needed all their heroics then, and they needed them all on Tuesday, too. .
Bogdanovic’s 3-point shot with 3:15 left left Atlanta at 104-101.
From there, it was all Butler.
He made a dunk, a 3-pointer and another – all in the space of 56 seconds – to turn things into doubt, putting Miami at 10 points with 1:20 left and ensuring the Heat would finish with the win.
“Just staying aggressive,” Butler said. “Take what the defense gives me.”
As you would expect in a playoff series, pleasantries began to be exchanged more regularly. The first half featured 16 Atlanta fouls and 14 Miami fouls — a season-record for the Hawks, one off-season record for the Heat, and those personal 30 didn’t even include a double coach that Lowry and Hunter managed to get. face to face.
Young was also given a coach for arguing a foul against him late in the third, the captor of a period in which the Heat went from barely ahead to holders of a double-digit lead in the final 12 minutes. He played the entire third quarter, but only managed two shots in that span – hitting both – and missed the foul line, committing five turnovers in that span alone.
And over time, Miami caught up to its stride.
Kevin Huerter’s 3-point shot, with 8:59 left in the third, pulled Atlanta to 64-62. The Hawks went nearly three minutes without scoring again, and the game looked very different after those three minutes.
The Heat went 4-4 that stretch – 3 points off Butler, PJ Tucker and Strus, with a layup from Butler there as well – and added an 11-0 run that took the lead to 75-62. The margin remained at least eight points over the next 11 minutes before Atlanta began to recover.
Young hit Collins with a shot for a layup, and Bogdanovic’s long jumper took Atlanta 94-90 mid-quarter.
But the Hawks never got the lead. Butler took care of that.
Get more from the National Basketball Association Follow your favorites for game information, news and more.