Tagged in: interim coach

Nick Van Exel returns to Atlanta Hawks as assistant coach

Nick Van Exel has returned to the Atlanta Hawks, joining Nate McMillan’s staff as an assistant coach.

Van Exel spent the past two years as a scout with the Dallas Mavericks. The Hawks announced his hiring Wednesday, bringing back a former All-Star who served as a player development instructor for Atlanta from 2010 to 2012.

“Since his playing career ended, Nick has been very successful in helping develop young guards for the teams he’s worked with, including several that have turned into All-Stars,”

McMillan, who led the Hawks to the Eastern Conference finals last season after taking over as interim coach, said in a statement.

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The Hawks are led by 22-year-old point guard Trae Young, who is heading into his fourth season.

They also have young swingmen De’Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter and Cam Reddish as well as a pair of second-round picks they hope will develop into solid NBA guards in Skylar Mays and Sharife Cooper.

Van Exel will get a chance to work with that promising group under McMillan, who was retained as the permanent coach after the Hawks’ playoff run.

“We feel he’ll be a great addition helping our young core guards continue to progress,” McMillan said.

Van Exel has previous coaching experience with the Memphis Grizzlies and Milwaukee Bucks. He also was a head coach for one season in the G League and spent a year as an assistant at Texas Southern.

Over a 13-year playing career in the NBA, Van Exel played with six teams. He earned a spot in the 1998 All-Star Game while with the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Hawks win McMillan’s debut, top Heat 94-80

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Trae Young took over late and made sure Nate McMillan would triumph his debut as interim coach of the Atlanta Hawks.

Young scored 18 points, including 13 straight for his team in the fourth quarter, and the Hawks snapped Miami’s six-game winning streak by defeating the Heat 94-80 on Tuesday night.

John Collins scored 17 for Atlanta, which lost at Miami on Sunday and fired coach Lloyd Pierce on Monday. Kevin Huerter scored 16 for the Hawks and Clint Capela had 10 points and 17 rebounds.

“Losing Coach Pierce, we all had to do better,” McMillan said. “And that was the challenge to this team tonight. He took a hit because we didn’t do what we were supposed to be doing out there. And I thought tonight, they did better.”

Duncan Robinson and Goran Dragic each scored 14 for Miami, which missed an opportunity to get over .500 for the first time this season. Bam Adebayo scored 11 for the Heat, who shot 37% — their fourth-worst showing of the season.

“We had been trending much better offensively,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It just was a flat offensive game. It was not a fluid game for us on that side of the floor.”Tony Snell added 11 for the Hawks.

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“Ugly game, but in the end you win a lot of games giving up 80 points,” Huerter said. “Great bounceback from the last 24 hours. And now we’ve got to finish the first half of the season strong tomorrow in Orlando.”

Miami was outrebounded 47-26, by far its worst margin of the season, and was held to a season-low in points.

The Heat were again without Jimmy Butler, who missed his second consecutive match with right knee inflammation.

Miami shot 29% in the opening quarter and 36% in the half, including a 2-for-15 start from 3-point range. But by limiting Young for the second consecutive game — he had just two points by halftime and five points after three quarters — the Heat hung around, trailing 44-37 at the break and leading 66-63 going into the fourth.

Then Young got hot in the fourth, when the Heat shot just 5 for 18, and just like that what had been the NBA’s longest active winning streak entering the night was finished.

It was Miami’s lowest point total in its home building since scoring 79 versus Milwaukee on Jan. 19, 2016. The Heat were held to 85 or fewer points for the fifth time this season, by far the most in the NBA — with Butler missing four of those five games.

“Defenses are going to be disruptive and do different things to try to guard us,” Robinson said. “But there are always counters and ways to be effective. We just have to find solutions.”

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