Miami holds Atlanta without Jimmy Butler to win league victory

MIAMI Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) puts a shot around Atlanta Hawks striker John Collins (20) in the second half of game five of the first round of the 2022 NBA Finals at the FTX Arena. – REUTERS

VICTOR Oladipo scored 23 points and Bam Adebayo posted 20 points and made a central defensive game as the Miami Heat held off the visiting Atlanta Hawks for a 97-94 series victory in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference first round Tuesday night.

The Hawks had a couple of chances to fend for themselves in the final 30 seconds, but a missed shot came before a game-ending steal by Adebayo.

Miami is holding off until the conference semifinals open Monday night against Philadelphia or Toronto.

Max Strus scored 10 points during Miami’s 17-0 run late in the second quarter that allowed the Heat to build a 54-42 halftime lead.

Tyler Herro collected 16 points from the Miami bench, and Strus finished with 15 points. The Heat played without All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler (knee injury) and, for the second game in a row, point guard Kyle Lowry (hoarding).

Atlantas De’Andre Hunter scored 35 points, including 11 in the last five minutes. Kevin Huerter and Danilo Gallinari both had 12 points for the Hawks, who were unable to repeat last year’s post-season success as they reached the conference finals.

Atlanta star guard Trae Young was held to 11 points and scored just three points – all on free throws – in the fourth quarter. He was 2-to-12 from the field, including 0-to-5 on 3-pointers, and was charged with six turnovers.

Miami’s big outburst came in the final minutes of the first half after the Hawks led in the first eight minutes of the second quarter. But Atlanta did not have a field goal in the final 4-1 / 2 minutes of the half, with Hunter’s two free throws 3.2 seconds before halftime stopping Miami scoring.

The Hawks got close enough to close out 79-76 with 8:14 left on Onyeka Okongwu’s three-point game. Oladipo posted seven of Miami’s next 13 points as the spread reached 92-82 before Atlanta’s last push.

Adebayo and Hunter each led their team with 11 rebounds.

This was the closest result of Miami’s four wins in the series; the other three came with at least 10 points.

GRIZZLIES 111, TIMBERWOLVES 109
Yes Morant scored 18 of his game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter, including a tie-breaking layup at the last second, and host Memphis took a 3-2 lead in its first-round Western Conference playoff series against Minnesota.

Morant’s basket under duress as time ran out ended a whirlwind final 2:01, with the 2021-22 National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Improved Player scoring the Grizzlies’ last 11 points. Morant also contributed with 13 rebounds, nine assists and three steals, while teammate Desmond Bane scored 25 points and blocked three shots.

Karl-Anthony Towns finished with team heights of 28 points and 12 rebounds for Minnesota, who will try to avert elimination on Friday in Minneapolis.

SOL 112, PELIKANER 97
Mikal Bridges scored 31 points and Chris Paul added 22 points and 11 assists as host Phoenix defeated New Orleans to take a 3-2 lead in a Western Conference first-round playoff series.

Deandre Ayton scored 19 points for the top-seeded Suns, which could end the series with a win in New Orleans on Thursday. Phoenix hit 10 of 27 from beyond the arc compared to 5 of 25 for the Pelicans.

Brandon Ingram scored 22 points, CJ McCollum had 21, Jonas Valančiūnas had 17 points and 14 rebounds, and Jose Alvarado scored 12 to lead New Orleans. – Reuters

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