When Mike Budenholzer and the Atlanta Hawks try to defend their home court for the first time this season on Friday night against the Toronto Raptors, the first-year head coach will have a simple wish list for players: Get back on defense and pick up the open man.
Offense wasn't an issue in Wednesday's season-opening 118-109 loss in Dallas. Defense, that was another story.
The Hawks too often left Dallas shooters unguarded in transition and the Mavericks made them pay, hitting 44 of 77 shots (57.1 percent), including 11 of 24 3-pointers.
Atlanta's transition defense was terrible, largely because the Hawks spent too much time concerning themselves with sticking to the opponent they were assigned to defend.
Budenholzer's first coaching adjustment is simple:
"If you sprint back, you've got to take care of the basket first, and then the ball and then the most dangerous (potential shooter) - in that order," Budenholzer said. "A lot of times if it truly is transition, you don't end u...