This was more of how it was supposed to look. After a season opener on the road in which the Hawks got the offensive part right but the defensive part wrong, they placed together a better semblance of the package on Friday, making new head coach Mike Budenholzer's home opener a successful one with a 102-95 win over Toronto at Philips Arena. With an offense that showed off the kind of spacing that Budenholzer preaches, the Hawks made 43.5 percent of their three-pointers (10-of-23), led by the lights-out shooting of Kyle Korver, who made a three-pointer for his 75th consecutive game, the longest active streak in the league and the fourth-longest in league history. On Friday it was evident as to why Korver chose to re-sign a four-year, $24-million contract with the Hawks in the offseason, even as they remain a work in progress in general manager Danny Ferry's second season with eight new players. Korver would appear to be one of the primary beneficiaries of the new offensive philosophy and on Friday he made 5-of-8 three-pointers to finish with 17 points. Korver said after the game that Budenholzer and his offensive philosophy -- utilizing concepts more than the running of actual plays -- were a major factor in his decision to return. "Absolutely," Korver said. "The places that I was looking to go during free agency, I wanted to play a certain kind of basketball. I wanted to play the kind of basketball that was a good fit for me and I was a good fit for the offense and for the team strategy and meeting with coach Bud before free agency, he kind of shared his vision. You know where he came from (San Antonio), you know he's going to bring a lot of what they had there and that's what I wanted to be a part of, just good basketball. "We talk all the time: Don't just pound the ball, don't just go one-on-one. Just trust the system. And we still have ways to go in learning to trust the system. ... As long as we keep learning the play within the play, play the concept, when you have good spacing there's just going to be good shots for everybody." This is the continued evolution of Ferry's plan. Pounding the ball? That is why Joe Johnson was among the first whom Ferry jettisoned. It's also why the Hawks elected not to re-sign Josh Smith. With those two aforementioned players gone, it's also allowing point guard Jeff Teague to flourish in his fifth season. Coming off a 24-point, nine-assist game in the opener that was marred only by six turnovers, Teague totaled 12 assists and only one turnover to go with 17 points on Friday.
Budenholzer, Hawks beat Raptors to pick up first win of the season
Fox Sports South | Nov 2