Hawks-Spurs Preview

The San Antonio Spurs are trying to avoid their first

consecutive losses of the season. They should have a good chance to

do it against an Atlanta Hawks team they’ve dominated over the

years.

The Spurs look to bounce back from their first home loss when

they go for their 16th straight victory over the Hawks in San

Antonio on Monday night.

This game also marks the return of Atlanta first-year coach Mike

Budenholzer to San Antonio, where he spent nearly 20 years as a

video coordinator and assistant coach.

After winning their first seven home games, the Spurs (14-3)

trailed by 23 before coming back to take a late three-point lead

against Houston on Saturday. The Rockets, however, scored the final

nine points in a 112-106 win.

Tony Parker returned from a one-game absence because of an ankle

injury and finished with a season-high 27 points. Tim Duncan had 20

and Marco Belinelli added 18 with four 3-pointers for San Antonio,

which has dropped two of three.

The Spurs will try to get back on track defensively after

allowing a season-high point total at home. They had given up an

average of 89.3 in their previous seven in San Antonio.

“It’s a great lesson for us,” coach Gregg Popovich said. ”When

you play a good basketball team, you’ve got to come with passion,

an edge and aggressiveness for 48 minutes – and we did that for a

half.”

Parker appeared to be fine after missing Friday’s 109-91 win at

Orlando, hitting 13 of 27 from the field. The five-time All-Star,

though, has averaged just 12.6 points and 40.9 percent shooting in

his last five home games against the Hawks (9-9). He missed the

most recent meeting April 6 because of a neck injury.

Duncan led the way with 31 points and 14 rebounds in that

contest, while Kawhi Leonard scored 23 in the 99-97 home win.

Duncan has never lost to the Hawks at home in 14 career

meetings.

Atlanta seeks its first win in San Antonio since Feb. 15, 1997,

having lost the last 15 visits by an average of 17.5 points. The

Hawks have averaged 85.7 points and 41.5 percent shooting during

that skid, and they’re slumping heading into this matchup.

Since scoring 101.8 per game and shooting 47.3 percent during an

8-5 start, they’ve averaged 90.4 and 41.8 while dropping four of

five.

Atlanta cut an 18-point, third-quarter deficit to 81-79 with

9:42 left before falling 108-101 in Washington on Saturday. Paul

Millsap had 23 points and 10 rebounds while Al Horford scored 16

and Jeff Teague added 15.

“We’re trying to find ourselves as a team, trying to put it

together,” said Horford, who has missed two of the last three

meetings with the Spurs due to injury. “Hopefully we can get it

going. I think we will.”

Teague, averaging a team-high 17.3 points, has scored 11.5 and

shot 30.2 percent in his last four road games. He finished with six

points while going 3 of 11 in last season’s loss in San

Antonio.

Backcourt mate Kyle Korver may not be able to play after missing

the past three games with a bruised rib. He has made at least one

3-pointer in 88 consecutive games, one shy of Dana Barros’ all-time

record.