Hawks fire Pierce as coach following disappointing start

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Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce, left, talks with official Josh Tiven, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce was fired on Monday following a disappointing start to a season of heightened expectations.

Hawks president Travis Schlenk announced the move in a short statement released by the team.

The Hawks are 14-20 and 11th in the Eastern Conference, following a 109-99 loss at Miami on Sunday night. The teams play again in Miami on Tuesday.

“We would like to thank Lloyd for his work and commitment to not only the Hawks organization but the city of Atlanta,” Schlenk said in the statement.

Schlenk said the move, which comes less than a week before Atlanta hosts the All-Star Game, is timed to help the team enjoy a second-half resurgence.

“We have high expectations for our team on the court and we believe by making this change now that we can have a strong second half of the season,” Schlenk said.

Pierce, hired in 2018, was 63-120 (.344) with the Hawks, missing the playoffs in each of his two completed seasons.

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