Hawks coach Nate McMillan watches during the first half of...

Hawks coach Nate McMillan watches during the first half of the team's NBA game against the Pacers on May 6 in Indianapolis. Credit: AP/Darron Cummings

While Nate McMilan led the Atlanta Hawks to a 27-11 record after taking over as interim head coach when the team let Lloyd Pierce go in March, the team's arrival in the postseason has brought out reminders of his own failings in Indiana. In his last four postseason appearances, his teams were swept three times in the first round.

Asked if this was a chance to answer the critics, McMillan scoffed at the notion.

"It didn’t bother me because I don’t read it," McMillan said on a Zoom call Tuesday. "I don’t listen to it. I know the situation that happened in Indiana. Miami was playing really good basketball. We had some major injuries during that time. They took care of business. That’s in the past. I don’t get into what is written because I don’t read it. My focus, last year, that was the Pacers. I’ve been with the Hawks now for a season. I don’t really look back at stuff like that. My focus is on the future and the opportunity we have."

Welcome to the Mecca

Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter is making his first NBA postseason appearance and is happy to be doing it at Madison Square Garden.

"Yeah, of course," Hunter said following Atlanta’s practice Tuesday. "Playing in the Garden, that’s what every kid who plays basketball wants to do. So being able to go there for the playoffs, just to feel that atmosphere, will be great."

Hunter missed much of the season with a partially torn meniscus but returned for three late-season games and started the final game of the regular season.