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NBA play-in preview and tips: Atlanta Hawks at Miami Heat

The eagerly anticipated NBA play-offs are almost upon us, but firstly there’s the small matter of the play-ins to decide which two teams join the six automatic qualifiers to make up the last eight.

The Atlanta Hawks stumbled into the play-in tournament with a 5-5 record across their last 10 games. Miami Heat looked a little more settled at 6-4, winning four of their last five regular-season games.
When you consider the talent each team has at their disposal, it feels like the Heat are just better built for this. They have the defensive capability to take charge of a one-off game and home-court advantage will help.
Both teams are capable offensively and two players likely to feature heavily are Atlanta's Trae Young and Miami's Jimmy Butler.
Trae Young is the beating heart of the Hawks and if they're going to win on the road in a play-in game they need him to show up in a big way. But he just doesn't seem to show up in the same way against the Heat.

Young has averaged 26.2 points per game this season but his average suffers a massive drop off to 19.8 when you focus on the games he's played against Miami. Back on March 5th, Young scored just eight points in 32 minutes against the Heat.

Suggested Bet: Miami -5

Something we've seen consistently in meetings between the sides is that the Heat use their size to make life difficult for Young around the basket.
Some of the ball-handling burden has been lifted off Young's shoulders this year with the arrival of Dejounte Murray, but his history versus Miami is still a factor.
Jimmy Butler, conversely, knows how to play the Hawks. He's scored 25 points per game in three meetings with them this year, shooting 63.2% from the field. He also dished 18 assists in those games.
Butler's ability to own the Hawks is not limited to just them. Miami know that if you put the ball in his hands in a do-or-die situation, then you better believe that Jimmy will do.
Butler has shown time and time again that he has the skillset and the mentality to put a team on his back in situations like this and there's little doubt he'll carry the Heat over the line here.

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