The Hawks are the top heat in the NBA play-in game, locking up the 7-seed in the East

Associated Press4 minutes of reading

Okongwu heads home for a big-time alley-oop for the Hawks

Onyeka Okongwu soars through the paint and throws down a huge alley-oop to extend the Hawks’ lead.

MIAMI — Quin Snyder’s bags are packed for a trip abroad in February. He’s going to spend time with some friends and family and see some coaches he’s known over the years.

Then the The Atlanta Hawks called in a job offer to bring him in as a coach.

Now Snyder’s bags are packed again — starting with a trip to Boston, for the playoffs.

Trae Young scored 25 points, Clint Capela grabbed 21 rebounds and the Hawks beat the Miami Heat 116-105 in a play-in rivalry game on Tuesday night to clinch the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

“Our guys are trying to be the best version of us at the end of the year,” Snyder said. “The year’s not over. So hopefully we can take this and continue to build. It’s a game — but it’s our game.”

Dejounte Murray added 18 points for the Hawks, who avenged last season’s five-game Round 1 loss to Miami and earned an East first-round matchup with Boston that begins Saturday.

Kyle Lowry scored 33 points — his highest-scoring game in his two Miami seasons — and the Heat will host either Toronto or Chicago on Friday to decide a spot in Round 1 against No. 8 and top-seeded Milwaukee. Raptors and Bulls play Wednesday; The winner of Friday’s game opens the series against the Bucs on Sunday.

Tyler Hero scored 26 for Miami, and Jimmy Butler finished with 21.

“Come Friday, we’re going to have to play the opposite of what we played tonight,” Butler said.

For the Hawks, four reserves — Satik Bey, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Onyeka Okongwu and Jalen Johnson —- combined for 53 points.

The Hawks improved to 3-0 all-time in play-in tournament games; That’s the league’s best mark when New Orleans plays at Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.

They got this across the board. Atlanta outrebounded Miami 63-39, including a 22-6 edge in second-chance points in the offensive class and a 26-6 edge.

“We all understand that moment and time of year,” Young said. “Give credit to our guys for locking in, being ready and focusing on the game plan.”

The Hawks took two timeouts in the first 3:53 of the third quarter as Whittle took a 24-point lead with 2:37 left in the first half — 63-39 Atlanta — and fast.

Miami trailed by 15 at halftime, then opened the third quarter on a 16-6 run. It all added up to a 27-8 run in a 7-minute span to get the Heat within 71-66.

But the Hawks had an answer then, and the Heat made a run every other time. Atlanta pushed the lead back to 13 going into the fourth, and with Miami within six midway through the final quarter, the Hawks hit five straight to regain a double-digit edge.

Now, a team that was the East’s No. 1 seed last spring is one game from elimination.

“Nothing is easy this season,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We’re going to do this the hard way.”

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