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Pacers fire coach McMillan after another early playoff exit

NateMcMillan - cropped
Nate McMillan has been let go by the Indiana Pacers
Omnisport
NEWS
Modified 26 Aug 2020, 22:32 IST
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The Indiana Pacers relieved Nate McMillan of his coaching duties on Wednesday, two days after the team was swept out of the first round of the playoffs for a second straight year.  

The stunning move also comes just two weeks after the Pacers extended McMillan's contract by one year through the 2021-22 season. 

McMillan spent four seasons in Indiana and led the Pacers to the playoffs in each of those campaigns, but the team failed to win a postseason series over that period. Indiana was 3-16 in playoff games during his tenure and was swept in three series, including this year's match-up with the Miami Heat.

"This was a very hard decision for us to make; but we feel it's in the best interest of the organization to move in a different direction," Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said in a statement.

McMillan compiled a 183-136 regular-season record with the Pacers while often saddled with injuries or defections to top players. He guided Indiana to 48 wins - six more than the previous season - in 2017-18 after the organisation traded All-Star Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Pacers matched that win total the following year despite leading scorer Victor Oladipo missing over half the season with a ruptured quadriceps tendon. 

With Oladipo limited to only 19 games in 2019-20 while recovering from that injury, the Pacers finished 45-28 and were the Eastern Conference's number four playoff seed.  

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McMillan has gone 661-588 in 16 overall seasons as an NBA head coach with the Seattle SuperSonics (2000-05), Portland Trail Blazers (2005-12) and Indiana.

The 56-year-old also worked alongside Pritchard, the former Trail Blazers' general manager, during his time with Portland.  

"Nate and I have been through the good times and the bad times; and it was an honour to work with him for those 11 years (in Indiana and Portland)," Pritchard stated.  

Published 26 Aug 2020, 22:32 IST
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