The Atlanta Hawks beat the Miami Heat in the first round of the Play-In Tournament.
Atlanta would go on to be beaten by the Boston Celtics in five games of the first round of the playoffs while Miami would beat the Chicago Bulls in the second round of the Play-In before taking out the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, and now are one game away from going to the NBA Finals for the second time in four years with a commanding 3-0 lead over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals on May 21.
Hawks center Clint Capela, no stranger to surprise playoff runs, reacted to the surprising stretch of dominant basketball by the Heat against last season’s NBA Finals runners-up.
“Heat were just trolling people all season,” Capela tweeted.
Miami went 44-38 during the regular season and was slotted as the seven-seed in the East before the postseason began. But the Heat have done most of their damage during these playoffs without their third-leading scorer in Tyler Herro.
He broke his hand in Game 1 against the Bucks and was thought to be lost for the postseason but his team may have given him enough time to recover. Miami’s run has been keyed by Jimmy Butler whom Capela’s teammate Trae Young had to “call out” over denying the apparent fact that he takes his game to another level once the regular season ends and the playoffs begin.
“Jimmy definitely at a different level in the playoffs .. no matter what he say,” Young tweeted after Butler led Miami to a 121-116 win over Boston in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on May 17.
Butler needed just 16 points to help guide Miami to a key victory in Game 3.
Capela previously noted how much he enjoyed the Celtics’ series against the Philadelphia 76ers and wanted to see it go seven games, which it ultimately did.
Atlanta Hawks players have been taking note of this postseason
Capela and Young are not the only Hawks taking notice of some of the incredible performances this postseason. Bogdan Bogdanovic sent a shoutout to fellow Serbian and Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic.
As has Dejounte Murray.
And rookie sharpshooter AJ Griffin tweeted that Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry is “nasty” earlier this postseason.
Having to watch the action from the sideline has to be frustrating for the Hawks, especially seeing how the team they beat is handling the team that knocked them out of the playoffs. But matchups matter.
Miami’s physicality and experience are proving to be too much for Boston’s wealth of skill.
The Hawks haven’t been as far in the postseason as these Celtics have nor do they have the gritty pedigree of the Heat. But, with head coach Quin Snyder already at the helm going into the offseason, they are well-positioned to pick a direction this offseason.