Jan 21, 2015 11:11 PM
Korver dunks, Hawks win 14th in a row, 110-91 over Pacers
The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) Kyle Korver got out ahead of the break, took a pass from Al Horford and saw a clear path to the basket.
It was time to show his teammates that he really can dunk.
With Korver providing the highlight of the night with his first slam in more than two years, the Atlanta Hawks cruised past the Indiana Pacers 110-91 on Wednesday night, tying the franchise record with their 14th straight victory.
Even though it was another balanced effort, led by DeMarre Carroll and Jeff Teague scoring 17 points apiece, everyone wanted to chime in on Korver's above-the-rim exploits.
"It's been a while," Korver said, looking over at teammate Dennis Schroder with a big smile. "Dennis didn't think I could dunk. He asked me if that was my first one ever."
Actually, it was the 16th in a 12-year NBA career, according to STATS, but Korver's first since Nov. 16, 2012, at Sacramento a span of 198 games.
"I didn't even know it was him," Horford said. "Once he got it, I didn't think he would dunk it. He caught me by surprise."
With the victory, which improved the Hawks' conference-leading record to a stunning 35-8, Mike Budenholzer clinched a spot as the Eastern coach in next month's All-Star Game in New York City.
"I had hoped you wouldn't mention that," said Budenholzer, in his second season as Atlanta's coach after a long stint as an assistant to Gregg Popovich at San Antonio.
Budenholzer should be taking several players with him. The Hawks romped to their 28th victory in the last 30 games, showing the kind of teamwork that has become their trademark in a season no one saw coming.
"It's a great honor, but I think it's the players that put you in that position," the coach said. "We're the fortunate ones who get the honor of coaching an All-Star Game. I'll do my best to enjoy it."
Ten Atlanta players scored before halftime, with the pesky Carroll leading the way. All five starters finished in double figures, and Pero Antic chipped in off the bench with 12 points.
C.J. Miles led the Pacers with 18 points. Indiana shot just 39.7 percent and lost its sixth in a row.
"They're a team that's hot and we're not playing very well," said the Pacers' Luis Scola. "We had a bad game and this is what happened."
The Hawks seized control late in the second by simply outworking the Pacers. After David West let a pass slip through his hands and roll back across the midcourt line, he paused briefly in frustration while Teague raced by him to scoop up the loose ball for an uncontested layup.
Indiana missed on its next possession, and Antic knocked down a 3-pointer. Just like that, the home team had stretched its lead to 47-32.
Up 52-41 at halftime, the Hawks quickly put things away at the start of the third, burying the Pacers from the 3-point stripe. Paul Millsap, Teague and Carroll all swished from long range in a 13-4 spurt that made it 65-45.
Carroll wasn't done. After the Pacers deflected one of his passes, he hustled for the loose ball, drove for the basket and put up a shot that rimmed out. Antic rebounded, whipped it back outside, and the Hawks passed all the way around the arc, setting up Carroll for an open 3-pointer from the corner.
Nothing but net.
A few seconds later, with his team up by 25, Carroll knocked the ball away, dove to the court and called timeout to ensure the Hawks kept possession. The crowd gave him an appreciative cheer on the way to the bench.
"They don't call me the Junkyard Dog for nothing," said Carroll, who bounced around to four teams before finding a home in Atlanta. "I don't take anything for granted."
Budenholzer is the first Hawks coach since Lenny Wilkens in 1994 to lead a team at the All-Star Game. Budenholzer's staff will include Kenny Atkinson, Darvin Ham, Taylor Jenkins, Charles Lee, Neven Spahija and Ben Sullivan.
Pacers: This is their third losing streak of at least six games. ... The starting frontcourt West, Roy Hibbert and Solomon Hill combined for just 20 points.
Hawks: Atlanta tied the record for consecutive wins set during the 1993-94 season, when they finished with the best record in the East. ... The Hawks shot 50 percent from the field, including 13 of 29 from 3-point range.
Pacers: Play the fourth in a five-game road trip when they travel to Miami on Friday night.
Hawks: Host Oklahoma City on Friday night, the third in a seven-game homestand.
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