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Hawks show life, beat the Heat; Lakers-Timberwolves in action

The NBA play-in tournament got underway on Tuesday, with the Atlanta Hawks upsetting the Miami Heat on the road in the 7-8 matchup. 

With the win, Atlanta secured the seventh seed. Miami will now host the winner of Chicago and Toronto on Friday, with the eighth seed on the line.

Currently, the Los Angeles Lakers are playing host to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 7-8 matchup in the Western Conference.

Here are FOX Sports NBA analyst Ric Bucher’s takeaways from the Hawks’ victory:

With one of the NBA’s most anemic offenses, the Heat could ill afford to miss layups in Tuesday’s play-in matchup against the Hawks. Their strength is an eighth-ranked defense built on forcing turnovers and not giving up offensive rebounds.

Which is why the Heat are feeling rather ill right now. Because they did everything they could not afford to do against the Hawks, resulting in a near wire-to-wire 116-105 loss that now means they must beat the winner of Wednesday’s Chicago-Toronto play-in contest to keep their postseason hopes alive.

Although the Heat closed to within five in the second half, thanks to Kyle Lowry’s game-high 33 points off the bench, their fate may have been sealed in the first quarter when they missed five shots inside the restricted circle and allowed the Hawks to grab eight offensive rebounds — this by a Heat team that conceded a league-low 8.9 offensive boards during the regular season. The Hawks finished with a total of 22 offensive rebounds; the Heat finished missing 7-of-12 shots at the rim.

The worst part: The Heat’s stars, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, were responsible for most of the self-inflicted damage. Butler went 6-for-19, nine of his 13 misses coming with at least a foot in the paint, five of them at the rim. Adebayo played 41 minutes and had nine rebounds, while Atlanta’s Clint Capela grabbed 21, his eight off the offensive glass including one in which he simply reached over Adebayo to snare the ball.

Then again, the Heat played most of the night with an ultra small-ball starting lineup of 6-foot-7 Butler at power forward next to Adebayo at center and 6-foot-5 Tyler Herro, 6-foot-5 Max Strus and 6-foot-3 Gabe Vincent on the perimeter. Their two primary subs: 6-foot Lowry, who at times was charged with boxing out Capela, and 6-foot-5 Caleb Martin. The Heat’s only other big men, Kevin Love and Cody Zeller, played a combined seven minutes. 

Stay tuned for NBA reporter Melissa Rohlin’s takeaways from Lakers-Wolves!

Ric Bucher is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. He previously wrote for Bleacher Report, ESPN The Magazine and The Washington Post and has written two books, “Rebound,” on NBA forward Brian Grant’s battle with young onset Parkinson’s, and “Yao: A Life In Two Worlds.” He also has a daily podcast, “On The Ball with Ric Bucher.” Follow him on Twitter @RicBucher.

Melissa Rohlin is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. She previously covered the league for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, the Bay Area News Group and the San Antonio Express-News. Follow her on Twitter @melissarohlin.

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Source: www.foxsports.com

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