Hawks beat Heat 98-85 to clinch 7th straight playoff berth


Apr 12, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward

DeMarre Carroll

(5) fights for the ball with Miami Heat forward

Udonis Haslem

(40) during the second quarter at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks won their second game of the season against the Miami Heat 98-85 tonight, to clinch the playoffs for the seventh straight year.

Despite taking on the defending National Champions in a playoff atmosphere at home, with Dwyane Wade on the court (he was questionable before the game) the Hawks were able to seal the deal on their playoff chances, largely thanks to Jeff Teague‘s performance.

The point guard shot 9-17 from the floor on the night and scored a team-high 25 points, while only being eclipsed by LeBron James (27 points) for the game. He was extremely aggressive in this one from the start, scoring 14 points in the first half alone. His early success offensively would be crucial as first half dragged on, as the Heat went on a tear offensively, shooting above 60 percent in both of the first two quarters. Despite that efficiency — and especially Wade’s 7-7, 16-point half — the Hawks still managed to tie the Heat at the half, 49-49.

Atlanta started the third quarter on a 9-1 run that was also pretty important, as both teams started to struggle offensively in the third quarter. The Hawks outscored Miami 20-13 in the third quarter and set themselves up nicely for the fourth quarter, holding a 69-54 lead.

During the fourth quarter, it was all Louis Williams to wrap the win up for the Hawks. He went absolutely berserk in the last period, scoring 18 points after shooting 3-3 from 3-point land and 5-5 from the floor. He finished the game with 23 points, shot 7-9 from the field and made all five of his free throw attempts.

That kind of help from the bench proved critical in a game where LeBron James and Dwayne Wade were the only two really doing a whole lot for the Heat. When you play against a team with guys of their talent, that’s really what you have to try and do — limit everyone else. We talked about it earlier today in our preview, and it’s nice to see that the Hawks made it happen.

This game is even more interesting because it will likely serve as an appetizer to Atlanta’s first round in the playoffs. Until then, Hawks fans might want to route for the Indiana Pacers, as they will certainly be a less-daunting series opponent.