Jimmy Butler rips Miami Heat’s defense after play-in loss to Atlanta Hawks

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Although the Miami Heat entered the play-in tournament with two chances to win one game, their margin for error is officially gone following their loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday.

The Heat will face elimination on Friday as a result of their disappointing performance against Atlanta. In the Heat loss, the Hawks picked apart Miami’s defense to the tune of 116 points. Atlanta also killed Miami on the glass, and Heat star Jimmy Butler spoke about those areas of the game after it was all over.

The Hawks didn’t exactly hurt the Heat from beyond the arc, but they were very efficient otherwise and shot 46.9 percent from the field for the game. Atlanta scored 64 points in the paint and got countless second chances throughout the night, as the team pulled down 22 offensive rebounds (compared to just six for Miami).

Overall on the glass, the Hawks outrebounded the Heat 63-39. Atlanta’s Clint Capela left a mark in a major way, totaling 21 boards (including eight on the offensive end).

Kyle Lowry was phenomenal for the Heat off the bench, but it wasn’t enough to carry Miami to a win. He finished the night with 33 points, four rebounds and five assists while shooting 11-for-16 from the field and 6-for-9 from deep.

Any chance of the Heat playing the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs is now gone. If Miami is able to extend its season on Friday, then it’ll face the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round.

A Heat-Bucks matchup would be anything but a walk in the park for Miami, as the team’s oft stagnant half-court offense would likely have a hard time against Milwaukee’s lethal defense.

The last time the Heat and Bucks met in the playoffs was in 2021, when Milwaukee took care of business in four games.

But before Miami can start thinking about a potential first-round series, it needs to shift its focus to Friday in order to stay alive for a playoff bid. The Heat will play either the Chicago Bulls or Toronto Raptors in the win-or-go-home matchup.

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Jason has covered the NBA for multiple years and has plenty of memories involving the Miami Heat. He expects there will be winning basketball in South Florida for years to come.