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Preview: Hawks battle Heat for second time in three nights

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NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Miami Heat Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks (14-20) will take on the Miami Heat (17-17) for the second time in three days, but things will look a bit different this time around. The Hawks made the choice to fire head coach Lloyd Pierce on Monday afternoon, and Pierce’s lead assistant, Nate McMillan, has agreed to become the interim head coach.

Sunday evening marked another loss for Atlanta, who sits six games under .500 and two games out of the Eastern Conference playoffs. McMillan led the Indiana Pacers to the postseason last year.

Pierce logged 2+ seasons as the head coach of the Hawks, providing development for a rebuilding group that has included the likes of Trae Young, John Collins, De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, Kevin Huerter and others.

This season, Atlanta had and still has playoff aspirations, and they still have a chance to achieve those goals if they can get things turned around. Injuries and inconsistent play leave them on the outside looking in heading into the break, but even an abbreviated hot streak could severely change their chances at a postseason birth. With the No. 9 and 10 seeds getting a chance at a play-in again this season, they are by no means at all dead in the water.

Miami, after a slow start, has vaulted themselves back into the contender conversation after six straight wins have them resembling the team that went to the NBA Finals last season.

The Hawks will look to even the season series vs. the Heat and get back into the win column after back-to-back losses, and seven losses in their last ten games.

Injuries

Atlanta will again be without De’Andre Hunter (right knee surgery) and Kris Dunn (right ankle), while Bogdan Bogdanovic, who has not played since Jan. 9, has been upgraded to questionable. Kevin Huerter is probable (back tightness) while Cam Reddish (Achilles soreness) is out.

For the Heat, they will again be without Avery Bradley (calf strain) and Meyers Leonard (out for season), while Jimmy Butler (knee inflammation) is questionable and Gabe Vincent (knee soreness) is probable.

The Line

The betting line in this game will obviously come down to whether Butler is in or out, but expect Miami to be favored either way. Sunday evening without Butler, Miami was a 2.5-point favorite and won by 10.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Tuesday, Mar. 2, 7:30 pm ET

Location: AmericanAirlines Arena

TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass (out of market)

Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network

Streaming: Fox Sports Go