ATLANTA — Former long-time San Antonio Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer has is first victory as Atlanta coach and it came in the Hawks’ home opener.
Al Horford had 22 points and 16 rebounds, Kyle Korver scored 17 on five 3-pointers and Jeff Teague contributed 17 points and 12 assists in Atlanta’s 102-95 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Friday.
“It was an important win,” Horford said. “We understood the magnitude of this game. We wanted to get the first win for Coach. We didn’t want him to have to wait and the pressure to build. It was good to get it out of the way and now we can build from here.”
Budenholzer, who spent 19 years with San Antonio, got a hung from veteran Elton Brand as he left the court.
“It’s a good feeling,” Budenholzer said of his first win. “I appreciate the effort tonight and think the group feels good for me.”
DeMar DeRozan had 31 points for Toronto, including 23 in the second half. But the Raptors (1-1) couldn’t get closer than five points after trailing by 18 in the third quarter.
“I was thinking they really made me sweat it there at the end,” Budenholzer said.
Atlanta (1-1) built a 70-52 lead just past the midpoint of the third quarter thanks to a 34-15 stretch dating to the final two minutes before halftime and was up 79-68 going into the final period.
DeRozan scored 13 points in the third quarter and 10 more in the fourth as Toronto fought back.
“We didn’t get enough stops late when we needed them,” DeRozan said. “I don’t care how many points I score. I want to win.”
DeRozan made 14 of 23 shots, but Rudy Gay was just 6 of 23 en route to 14 points for the Raptors. “You’re not going to play well every game, but I have to come back and help this team win,” Gay said. “I did get it done.” The Hawks led 49-39 at intermission after a closing 13-2 run that featured half of their six first-half 3-pointers. Toronto was outscored 24-15 in the second quarter while shooting 23.8 percent.
Korvar extended his streak from behind the arc to 75 games on Atlanta’s first possession and hit again shortly afterwards.
“I got a couple of good looks early,” said Korvar, who missed just three times from behind the arc in the game.
It was 3-pointers by DeMarre Carroll, Cartier Martin and Pero Antic, though, that sparked the Hawks late run in the second quarter, which was capped by Teague’s breakaway dunk.
Paul Milsap, who previously played for Utah, had 15 points for the Hawks, who were 10 of 23 on 3-pointers.
“Coming out here for these fans, the first game here, it feels good to get the win for them,” Milsap said.
Lowery had 16 points and four assists for Toronto. “The two-minute stretch at the end of the half killed us,” Lowery said. “Our second unit came in and did a good job to get us back in the game.”
Notes: Three-point specialist Steve Novak, acquired from the New York Knicks in the summer, didn’t dress for the Raptors because of a stiff back after being bothered by a thumb injury in the preseason. His only points in the opening victory at home over Boston came on a 3-pointer. … Quincy Acy, a second-year forward from Baylor, dressed in Novak’s place after not suiting up for the opener. … The Hawks exercised the contract option on guard John Jenkins for next season. The 2012 first-round draft choice from Vanderbilt has been bothered by back issues since the summer. … Guard Jared Cunningham’s option was not picked up by the Hawks, making him a free agent after the season. … Atlanta, which lost its opener at Dallas on Wednesday night, begins a three-game western trip against the Lakers in Los Angeles on Sunday. The Hawks follow with stops in Sacramento and Denver. … The Raptors play at Milwaukee on Saturday night.