Hawks’ Nate McMillan has seen it all from the Heat before and that’s the problem – Twin Cities

As Atlanta Hawks coach Nate McMillan looked back on his team’s fifth game of the Eastern Conference playoff series Tuesday night against the Miami Heat at the FTX Arena, it was a decided case of deja. . . ah.

Was there. have seen it Lost.

After being swept out of the first round by the Heat early in the 2020 NBA Playoffs while coaching the Indiana Pacers, the stifling defensive approach became a case of where the old is new again.

The constant of Heat and Erik Spoelstra’s scheme, McMillan said, is sourcing the parts to make it work.

So while Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler remain anchors, much like they did in 2020 in the first round against McMillan’s Pacers, the net cast by Heat’s front office has once again caught up with a defensive support cast to put a McMillan team on their heels .

And once again Spoelstra has found success as a puppeteer.

“It’s the system,” said McMillan, with his team trailing 3-1 in the best-of-seven series going into Tuesday night. “This is a system that Miami has been playing with for a number of years. Of course he does a great job with this team.

“But the system they put in place defensively, I faced the same defense in Indiana a few years ago when I was in Indiana and we were swept into the playoffs.”

With that, McMillan reeled off the names of Heat defenders, from Butler and Adebayo to PJ Tucker, Kyle Lowry, Gabe Vincent and Caleb Martin.

“Bam at that fifth position, his ability to switch to Sentinel. You bring in a guy like Tucker. You bring in Lowry. These guys are defensive players,” McMillan said. “They introduced it a few years ago [Andre] Iguodala. That kind of guys.

“So their defense they play, they recruit staff that fits their system.”

In a way, it was as if McMillan was paying tribute to Pat Riley’s collective heat approach to the bottom, with Spoelstra able to turn to the nearest defender.

“They’re pretty solid, with Butler being the main man defensively,” McMillan said. “His ability to guard one through five. Bam’s ability to guard one through five. Tucker’s ability to guard one through five. You bring in a guy like Vincent to replace Lowry. His ability to get on the ball and apply pressure.

“So it’s a system that’s been around at Miami for a while. And they do a good job of recruiting and finding the people that fit the system they want to play.”

As the series progressed, McMillan turned to small ball to change momentum. Instead, he found a large heat meter.

“They brought a lot of speed out there,” he said. “Basically four guards.”

And that came even when Kyle Lowry was out with a hamstring strain, one that saw him sit out again for Game 5 after sitting out the win in Sunday’s Heat Game 4, with Vincent taking his place and bringing in his own defensive energy.

In the end, McMillian proved forward-thinking, perhaps too forward-thinking, when he offered his scouting report on defending the Heat ahead of this series.

“They force sales with their pressure,” he said a week ago. “They do a good job of switching, with Bam being able to guard one through five. So we have to get them to defend themselves. Get some ball movement. Be ready for their changing defense. You will go from a press to a zone.”

Ultimately, the Heat did all of that, with all of the above players taking on the scorers from Young and the Hawks in waves.

“You have to give them credit,” Young said.

() Hawks’ Nate McMillan has seen it all from the Heat before and that’s the problem – Twin Cities

Jessica MacLeish

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