Hawks’ McMillan named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month

Hawks interim coach Nate McMillan gives his players a fist bump as they take the court.  “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”
Hawks interim coach Nate McMillan gives his players a fist bump as they take the court. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Hawks interim coach Nate McMillan was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for March, the NBA announced Thursday.

The Hawks were 9-4 in the month.

McMillan, who was named interim head coach March 1, replacing Lloyd Pierce, led the Hawks to an 8-0 start to begin the month and became the first NBA coach to win his opening eight games after taking over in-season since 2003-04. The eight-game stretch of wins was the Hawks’ longest streak since the club won 19 consecutive from Dec. 27, 2014 to Jan. 31, 2015.

The Hawks won five road games during the streak.

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Also, the Hawks’ defense allowed the East’s two lowest single-game scores of the month, limiting Miami to 80 points on March 2 and holding Cleveland to 82 points on March 14. Overall, the Hawks allowed the NBA’s second-fewest points per game in March (105.7) and the East’s third-lowest field-goal percentage (.450). The Hawks posted the conference’s second-best point differential (plus-5.0).

The Hawks finished March with a 9-4 record, for a .692 winning percentage, the team’s best monthly mark (minimum five games played) since a .733 winning percentage in January 2017.

This is the eighth time a Hawks coach has received a coach-of-the-month honor and the first time since January 2015. This marks the seventh time McMillan has won conference coach of the month during his career.

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