Hawks take to the road with an early West Coast trip

You can add one more philosophy that Atlanta has borrowed from San Antonio.

Next up for the Hawks is a three-game western trip that begins Sunday in Los Angeles against the Lakers. The team will then play the Kings on Tuesday and the Nuggets on Thursday. With a day between each game, the Hawks will remain in a city overnight before a practice and departure the next day. It’s a break from the norm, as most NBA teams depart for the next city immediately after a game.

“I think there are a lot of different reasons (to stay overnight), and we are going to mix it up,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “It won’t be the same thing every time. You are getting a good night’s sleep, getting rest and also getting a good meal if you have the opportunity to stay over in a city. It’s an opportunity for team building, maybe you eat together as a group.

“Really it comes down to getting a great night’s sleep and a great meal when sometimes you jump on a plane, maybe the meal isn’t as good and you get into a city at 2 or 2:30 (a.m.), sleep isn’t as good. You are always trying to find things to maximize their sleep and their food.”

DeMarre Carroll said it’s a first for him after four NBA seasons with the Grizzlies, Rockets, Nuggets and Jazz.

“I think San Antonio does it,” Carroll said of the overnight stays. “It gives us time to get some rest.”

So, something else borrowed from the Spurs?

“There you go,” Carroll said.

Budenholzer spent 19 years in the San Antonio organization, and he is changing the ways many things are done in Atlanta, even little things such as the travel schedule.

The coach also has the task of building chemistry on a team with eight new players and five new coaches. Time on the road can help in that endeavor, and the Hawks play five of their first seven games away from home.

Starting on the West Coast is not unusual for the Hawks. Beginning with 1990, the Hawks will have played a game in the Pacific time zone in the first month of the season 17 times in the 24 seasons.

“I think there are good things that happen on the road when you are together,” Budenholzer said. “Whether it is teammates eating lunch together or the whole group going out and eating a dinner, all those different things can help the group come together, have chemistry and really care about each other.”

The Hawks (1-1) got a boost before departing for the West Coast with Friday night’s 102-95 victory over the Raptors, giving Budenholzer his first win as a head coach. The victory came two nights after losing the season opener at the Mavericks.

Al Horford, who had a double-double of 22 points and 16 rebounds against the Raptors, went as far as calling the victory a must win.

“I was thinking, ‘We can’t go on the road 0-2. We can’t.’” Horford said.

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