We caught up with Atlanta Hawks’ guard Kyle Korver following the team’s 102-92 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Nov. 1. Topics included the atmosphere for the home opener and incorporating Al Horford into the rotation.
We attended the post-game press conference of Atlanta Hawks’ coach Mike Budenholzer following his team’s win over the Indiana Pacers on Nov. 1. Highlights include the squad winning the home opener and the continued improvements of Al Horford into the starting lineup.
The home opener for the Atlanta Hawks was a successful one as they emerged with a 102-92 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Philips Arena Saturday night.
Jeff Teague had a game-high 21 points for the Hawks along with six assists. Al Horford (20), Paul Millsap (13) and DeMarre Carroll (11) also had double-figures scoring. Carroll had a team-high 9 rebounds for Atlanta.
“It’s great to lay at home in front of crowd we had tonight,” Hawks’ coach Mike Budenholzer said. “That really helps us and our guys appreciate it. Defensively, we’re continuing to build and improve. The guards’ activity and rebounding was very good.”
Trailing most of the contest, Indiana got within striking distance with less than two minutes left in the game when Chris Copland’s three-pointer cut the Hawks lead to 93-89. Copeland had a team-high 21 points off the bench for the Pacers.
Teague proceeded to hit a jumper off the right elbow on Atlanta’s next possession at the 1:25 mark of the fourth quarter, increasing the lead to 95-89.
After three made free throws by Donald Sloan of Indiana, Teague sealed the win with another jumper, this one from the left elbow with 55 seconds left.
“Jeff (Teague) obviously finished the game well,” Budenholzer said. “At the end of games, there are a lot of pick-and-rolls. Jeff had some opportunities and made some shots.”
The win was also the regular-season home opener for Horford who missed the second half of last season, including the playoffs due to injury. Horford had 20 points and four rebounds in over 27 minutes of action.
“He’s getting more into rhythm,” Budenholzer said of Horford. “Even though he didn’t have a lot of boards tonight, he goes up and gets some important ones with his length. I think he’s getting more comfortable on the offensive end, finding ways to contribute.”
Indiana, playing without David West and C.J. Watson due to injury, had a balanced attack on offense,with all five starters scoring in double-figures, highlighted by Roy Hibbert’s 14 points. He also had a game-high 12 rebounds for a double-double. Starting guard Rodney Stuckey left in the first quarter due to an ankle injury.
“Its a tough situation (tonight),” Pacers’ coach Frank Vogel said. “This is a tough house. We’re playing against a team that I think is going to have a great season. We battled them and gave ourselves a chance.”
Atlanta held a 27-18 lead after the first quarter. The Hawks shot 56 percent from the floor while the Pacers were at 35 percent.
The Hawks took a 51-44 lead into halftime. Teague had a game-high 13 points through the first two quarters for Atlanta while Millsap had 10 points. Copeland scored a team-high 11 points for the Pacers and Hibbert had 10.
Atlanta shot 49 percent from the floor in the first half, including making five out of 12 three-pointer attempts. Indiana was at 43 percent shooting in the half.