Atlanta Hawks Coach Mike Budenholzer was honored as the NBA coach of the year on Tuesday, an award that moved him to tears as he spoke about the people who meant so much to his career.
His players. His father. Danny Ferry. And, of course, Gregg Popovich.
“Winning this award evokes a lot of emotions,” Budenholzer said, choking up several times.
He is clearly uncomfortable in the spotlight, and he said he would have preferred for Golden State’s Steve Kerr to win the award.
Kerr, whose team finished an NBA-best 67-15 in his first season with the Warriors, was second in the balloting, the only other candidate to receive serious consideration.
“I don’t want to sound like I’m not appreciative of it,” Budenholzer said after a ceremony at Philips Arena. “But in a perfect world, I’d be somewhere else.”
A longtime assistant under Popovich at San Antonio, Budenholzer won the Red Auerbach Trophy for guiding the Hawks to a 60-22 mark during the regular season, the best in franchise history.
The Hawks had a 19-game winning streak, became the first NBA team to go 17-0 during a calendar month, and cruised to their first division title since 1994, which also was the last time they held a No. 1 seed.
“He deserves it,” said Jeff Teague, the Hawks’ All-Star point guard. “He’s made me a better player. He’s made our team better.”
Budenholzer received 67 first-place votes and 513 points overall in balloting by sports writers and broadcasters. Kerr received 56 first-place votes and 471 points. Milwaukee’s Jason Kidd was a distant third.
Phoenix Suns’ Morris twins indicted on felony charges
The Phoenix Suns’ Marcus and Markieff Morris have been indicted by a grand jury on felony charges of aggravated assault for allegedly beating a man outside a city recreation center in January.
According to a Phoenix police report, Erik Hood said five people, including the Morris brothers, repeatedly punched and kicked him.
Police say it is alleged that Hood, 36, was assaulted for sending an inappropriate text message to the Morris brothers’ mother.
The names of the other three men are redacted in court documents released Tuesday.
Their first court appearance is set for May 7.
Chicago Bulls Nikola Mirotic injured
The Chicago Bulls could be without forward Nikola Mirotic for Game 3 of their first-round playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks because of an injured left knee.
Mirotic’s status is in doubt after he was hurt in a scramble for a loose ball with the Bucks’ Zaza Pachulia on Monday. A day later, he had his knee and thigh wrapped and was walking with a noticeable limp.