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Hawks defeat Heat in McMillan’s debut, 94-80

Atlanta bested Miami tonight in a 90’s style bout for Nate McMillan’s first official game as the interim coach. The Heat collapsed offensively down the stretch as the Hawks secured the victory.

Atlanta Hawks v Miami Heat Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

On Tuesday night, the Atlanta Hawks battled the Miami Heat for the second time in three days. The Hawks lost to Miami on Sunday night, 109-99, in a tough game. Atlanta looked to even the season series against the team from South Beach in a game that was fraught with tension.

Nate McMillan took the coaching helm tonight after the Hawks dismissed Lloyd Pierce on Monday afternoon. McMillan will serve as interim head coach for the foreseeable future, and Tuesday’s game was his first official test. McMillan also took on head coaching responsibilities two weeks ago when Pierce was away from the team for the birth of his second daughter.

In a positive turn of events, the Hawks welcomed Bogdan Bogdanovic back into the fold (on a minutes restriction), but Cam Reddish, De’Andre Hunter, and Kris Dunn were on the injury report again. Jimmy Butler was out of action for the Heat.

The Hawks came away with a solid victory tonight over Miami, winning the fourth quarter 31-14. Trae Young had only five points entering the fourth, but he finished with 18 points and 10 assists in the victory.

Atlanta showed some offensive cohesion to start the first quarter, scoring on six of the first nine possessions, five of them were assisted. Look at Tony “Cheat Code” Snell knock down the corner three.

Unfortunately, the Heat were equal to the task keeping the game close through most of the first quarter. Bogdanovic made his way into the game at the 4:49 mark and immediately threw an assist to John Collins for a turnaround jumper.

The bench unit showed a little more defensive urgency and kept the Heat second string from gaining any offensive momentum. The Hawks took a six-point lead into the second quarter, 23-17. Snell finished with nine points in the quarter to lead all Hawks scorers.

The second quarter saw more offensive struggles for Miami, a trend that would rear its head again later in the game. They scored only five points in the first six minutes of the second quarter, while the Hawks were able to string a few buckets together.

The Hawks finished the second quarter strong and took a 44-37 lead into the half. The Heat never really seemed to find their groove offensively and the Hawks did enough to maintain the lead. They even showed glimpses of some offensive consistency, look at this ball movement for a Collins three-pointer.

Collins led all Hawks scorers at the half with ten points and five rebounds. For Miami, Goran Dragic and Max Strus each scored six points.

The second half started with much better offensive pace from both teams. Young shook off some rust from the first half with this 30-footer.

But the Hawks stagnated and allowed a 12-5 run to start the third quarter, as the Heat took the 50-49 lead heading into a Hawks timeout at the 7:49 mark. The game stayed close with the lead swinging between the two teams. The Hawks had a few hard-fought offensive possessions like this and-one from Kevin Huerter.

The Hawks gave up an 8-0 run to go from up four points to down four in a two-minute span in the middle of the third quarter, and the Heat held the lead at 60-56 with three minutes left. Atlanta did not make it easy on themselves with 17 turnovers through three quarters.

Luckily, the Hawks didn’t unravel in those final three minutes and they were able to take only a three-point deficit into the final period. One such solid play may have brought a tear to Hawks fans’ eyes with Bogdanovic dropping a beautiful dump-off pass to the rookie Onyeka Okongwu for the authoritative jam.

The fourth quarter started stronger for Atlanta, with some encouraging signs from Okongwu and Bogdanovic. It was a Bogdanovic three-pointer that triggered a Miami timeout with 9:24 left in the fourth and a 71-69 lead.

It was a short-lived lead, however, as the Hawks coughed up three consecutive turnovers and the Heat were able to tie the game at 73 with seven and a half minutes left.

The Hawks starters re-entered the game at that point for the final stretch of the game. That was when it was Young’s turn to catch fire, as he nailed three back to back to back 3-pointers to put the Hawks up 84-74 with 5:16 left in the game.

On the other side of the ball, the Heat couldn’t seem to buy a bucket, suffering a three and a half-minute scoring drought in the middle of the fourth quarter. The Heat hit the 80 point mark with just 30 seconds left in the game.

The Hawks went on to secure the victory, 94-80, evening the season series with Miami at 1-1. Young led all scorers for Atlanta with 18 points — including 13 in the fourth quarter — and 10 assists, while Collins pitched in 17 points and seven rebounds.