Kyle Korver re-discovered his stroke Monday night, and as the Hawks’ sniper warmed up for the first time in a while, his teammates did plenty of cooking, too.
The NBA’s top 3-point shooter broke a personal slump against the Sacramento Kings, draining 6 of 8 shots from afar as the Hawks bludgeoned the Kings 130-105 with a franchise-record 20 3-pointers.
Korver’s recipe for scoring 20 points on nine shots? Leave the ball behind.
Monday was the first time since Friday night that he picked up basketball.
Rest – mandated by coach Mike Budenholzer – apparently made a difference.
Korver was the only Hawks player who did not make the trip to Philadelphia for Saturday’s game, one night after a home win over the Cleveland Cavaliers that saw Korver’s post-All-Star game skid stretch to just 17 of 54 3-pointers made.
“Bud after the game the other night said, ‘I don’t want you to come here. Just take two days and go hang with your family and get away from basketball. Just get your head right,’ “ Korver said. “I didn’t touch a ball. I got a massage one day, got a lift in, saw a chiropractor, took care of my body. I didn’t touch a basketball.”
Korver entered Monday leading the NBA with a stellar 49.2 percent shooting mark on 3-pointers, yet had made just 31.5 percent in eight games since appearing in his first All-Star game.
That wouldn’t be so notable but for the fact that he made 50 percent or more of his 3-point shots in 33 of Atlanta’s first 53 games (the Hawks were 29-4 in those contests) before going the last 10 below that mark.
So, after making back-to-back jumpers in the first quarter to break a tie and give the Hawks a 13-7 lead that was never lost, he was on the way back.
“He’s probably the hardest on himself,” Budenholzer said. “He’s got so many things that he checks into deeply, and if you can get him in a good place it’s important.”
The Hawks made more 3-pointers and banked more assists (a franchise-record 42) than any NBA team this season.
DeMarre Carroll made four, and when he and Korver are sniping as they were Monday from opposing wings, the Hawks are more than a handful.
Korver is the guy the Hawks most often station in the shooter’s tower.
When he’s got the basket in his cross hairs, and he’s on the mark, Atlanta is usually on the money as well.
“I was happy for him to knock down some shots,” said point guard Jeff Teague, who made 2 of 3 3-pointers while scoring 18 points with 13 assists. “I pulled him to the side earlier and told him, ‘you’re going to get some open looks.’ He got them, and knocked them down.”
Korver, who made at least 50 percent of his 3-pointers in 14 of 17 games (58-of-102, 56.9 percent) from Jan. 5 to Feb. 6 before his 10-game sub-.500 streak, sounded like a man released from jail.
“It’s not like it’s been a little streak; it’s been a good six weeks it felt like,” he said. “It’s good to see the ball go in the basket … I felt good in warmups. I just felt a little different getting ready for the game.”
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