Victor Oladipo shines as short-handed Heat stifle Trae Young, close out Hawks

·3-min read

The Miami Heat have advanced.

Now for some much-needed time off.

Led by Victor Oladipo, the top-seeded Heat held on to close out the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, posting a 97-94 win at home to secure a 4-1 series win. They did so with two of their best players in street clothes. Point guard Kyle Lowry missed his second straight game with a hamstring injury while Jimmy Butler was a late scratch with surprise knee inflammation.

The status of both players moving forward isn't immediately clear, but they'll have some time off to rest their ailments. Miami's second-round series against the winner of the 76ers-Raptors series starts on Monday.

Heat stifle Trae Young, lean on Oladipo

As they've done most of the season, the Heat leaned on their fourth-rated defense to secure the win, flustering Hawks All-Star Trae Young along the way. Young, who entered Game 5 averaging 16.5 points in the series — nearly 12 points below his season average of 28.4 — struggled again, posting 11 points on 2-of-11 shooting in the loss. He missed all five of his 3-point attempts.

Miami's injuries came with a silver lining as well. Oladipo, who missed all but eight games in the regular season with a lingering quadriceps injury, got extended run with the Heat for the first time this season. He made the most of it. The two-time All-Star led the Heat in scoring with 23 points alongside three assists and three steals. His drive-and-dish to set up a Bam Adebayo dunk in the game's last minute quelled a Hawks run to help keep Atlanta at bay.

Oladipo's re-emergence is obviously good news for the Heat moving forward.

"There's nothing I can't handle," Oladipo told NBATV after the game. "At the end of the day, I feel like I can come back and get through anything. So when they told me I needed to start tonight, I just stepped up to the plate and did everything I could to help my team win.

"I credit my coaching staff and my teammates for believing in me, my family, my God in heaven for getting me through. It's only the beginning."

Atlanta threatened to take advantage of the Heat injuries early while opening a 40-37 second-quarter lead. But Miami responded with a 17-0 run before taking a 54-42 edge into halftime. The Hawks closed the gap late behind a big game from De'Andre Hunter, who was Atlanta's only reliable offensive weapon with 35 points and 11 rebounds. But with Young struggling, Atlanta didn't have enough firepower to retake the lead and extend the series.