The Atlanta Hawks managed to get by the Charlotte Hornets without Kyle Korver this week. They could have their 3-point specialist back on the floor while trying to complete a sweep of their home-and-home set with the Hornets on Sunday in Charlotte.
Still recovering from offseason ankle and elbow surgeries, Korver won’t be overloaded with consistently heavy minutes to start the season. At least early on, Korver also could sit either end of back-to-back contests.
He scored 15 points and went 6 of 8 from the field in 32 minutes of Thursday’s 112-101 win at New York, then watched as the Hawks (2-1) hung on for a 97-94 home victory over Charlotte a night later.
"I feel like I’ll be in a good place here pretty soon," Korver, who shot an NBA-best 49.2 percent from 3-point range in 2014-15, told the Hawks’ official website last week.
Korver, 4 for 10 from beyond the arc in two games, has made 49.1 percent of his long-distance attempts in 34 games against Charlotte (0-2).
Without him Friday, fourth-year swingman and North Carolina native Kent Bazemore had a game-high 19 points and went 4 of 5 from long range. Bazemore, who totaled five points while starting the first two games and pulled down nine rebounds Friday, seems the early favorite to replace DeMarre Carroll after the talented small forward signed with Toronto.
"Baze had a great summer," Korver said. "He really worked on his game. He’s got a high ceiling. He’s got a lot of tools to work with. He’s very long. He’s got a high motor. He’s really coming into his own."
Each starter scored in double figures Friday as the Hawks held their second straight opponent to 40.9 percent shooting and forced at least 20 turnovers in back-to-back games.
"There are some positives to take from this game," coach Mike Budenholzer said.
Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams and Al Jefferson each posted double-doubles in points and rebounds for the Hornets, who last dropped their first three games in 2010.
"We’ve got to play with more purpose," said Charlotte coach Steve Clifford, whose team nearly overcame a 14-point hole in the fourth quarter.
The Hornets have shot 40.1 percent in their first two games, and after committing nine turnovers in Wednesday’s 104-94 loss at Miami, had 20 that Atlanta turned into 26 points.
"If you’re going to turn the ball over and the other team is going to score (21) fast-break points, you’re going to lose," Clifford said. "Those have to be corrected.
"(The Hawks) are really good defensively and they protect the paint."
Charlotte’s Kemba Walker scored 13 points Friday, but is averaging 18.7 in the last three home games against Atlanta.
The Hawks had won six consecutive road games against the Hornets before dropping both meetings at Charlotte last season.
"We’ll go back, look at the film and try to get ready for them on Sunday," Williams said. "(The Hawks have) got to play us the same way, too. Correct the things we did wrong."
Atlanta big man Mike Muscala could miss a third straight contest with a sprained right ankle.