MIAMI – The Miami Heat were missing two of their starters, but barely missed a beat in Tuesday’s 97-94 Game 5 victory over the Atlanta Hawks to advance to the second round.
With Kyle Lowry sidelined since late in the third quarter of Game 3 due to a left hamstring strain and Jimmy Butler Dressed for street wear due to inflammation in his right knee, Miami got a boost from a pair of unlikely replacements.
Victor Oladipowho appeared in just 96 of a possible 309 regular-season games over the last four years due to knee and quadriceps injuries, and Max Strus, who went undrafted and appeared in only two games total with the first two teams he was with. in the NBA, he picked up the slack to help the Heat secure their first playoff series at home since 2016.
Oladipo, who scored more points in the first five minutes of the first quarter (eight) than in the first four games of the series (six), finished with 23 points on 8-for-16 shooting.
Strus finished with 15 points and went on a personal 10-0 streak from 2:29 into the second quarter until 1:22 into the half, turning Miami’s one-point deficit into a nine-point cushion the Heat pushed back. up to 12 for the break.
Not to mention the 20 points of Bam Adebayo on 7-for-11 shooting and 11 rebounds, which included a crucial dunk with 59.2 seconds remaining on an Oladipo delivery that doubled the Heat’s lead from two to four to help stave off a late Atlanta rally.
Of course, it was a total team effort from a Heat team used to plug and play: Miami used 23 different starting lineups during the regular season en route to the Eastern Conference record No. 1.
And that team cohesion was fully on display on the defensive end, where Miami capped off a tortuous series to Bring Young by holding the Atlanta star to 11 points on 2-for-12 shooting (0-for-5-3) and six turnovers.
Young finished with more turnovers (30) than shots from the field (22) in the five games and three of his four lowest point totals all season.
Miami put the finishing touches on the win with a trademark save, not allowing the Hawks to get a shot attempted on their final possession when they had a chance to tie it on an in-bounds 3-pointer coming off a timeout at 5.2. seconds.
Tyler Herro, one of three finalists for Sixth Man of the Year, scored 16 points off the bench. It was his 11th career playoff game with at least 15 points off the bench, extending his lead for the most such games in Heat franchise history, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information.
Miami will play the first-round series winner Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors, who the Sixers lead 3-2, guaranteeing at least a few days off for Lowry and Butler to rest.
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The Heat are in the second round and waiting for the 76ers or Raptors