The Atlanta Hawks touched down on British soil Tuesday morning ahead of this Thursday’s regular season NBA clash against the Brooklyn Nets, being played out of London’s O2 Arena.
Hawks’ head coach, Mike Budenholzer spoke with the British media last week to give an insight on preparations for his team’s trip across the Atlantic, and what he garnered from the encounter with the Nets last Monday night.
Like the Nets, Atlanta fly in having suffered defeat in their last game, so despite all the hoopla surrounding the benefits of promoting the game, and what such a trip could do for both sides (although being almost halfway through the season, one would question whether or not it would have any further ‘bonding’ effect); on the hotel booking form, has Budenholzer ticked the box for “Business”, “Pleasure” or “Both”?
“We want it to be both, it’s obviously important, as we’re playing a regular season game that requires necessary focus and attention. For the Hawks, it’s important for us to experience another country and other culture, and we get to spend time with each other and bond. The more time we spend with each other, and the more we get to know each other, the more this reflects on the court.”
The 91-86 defeat at the Barclays Center last Monday was Budenholzer’s first encounter with Jason Kidd’s Brooklyn, but with the two games happening in such close proximity, he feels neither side can take any kind of advantage in to the game.
“I think there is value in playing a team shortly after you play them for the first time. We’ll be a bit more familiar with what they do, but unfortunately it will be the same for them too! Players’ attention is usually a little bit sharper too,” the Hawks’ play-caller went on to say.