<
>

Kyle Korver is trying to connect the dots on his shot again

play
Korver's 3s help Hawks to 21-point lead (0:36)

Hawks guard Kyle Korver drains four 3-point shots in the first quarter to help Atlanta kick off Game 2 with a huge lead over Boston. (0:36)

ATLANTA –- Kyle Korver’s shot just didn't look quite right.

Korver had gone through a nightmarish Game 1, in which he missed nine of 10 shots, including all seven of his 3-point attempts.

Jeff Teague's slump-busting solution? Keep firing away, Kyle.

"Don’t think about it. Just keep shooting," Teague said. "When he just lets it fly, it is pretty much going to go in. He misses a couple, he gets a little gun shy. And we want him to shoot 30 shots."

Korver chuckled when he heard Teague's advice and cracked that only Kobe Bryant gets to chuck that many shots.

Thirty shots? Back in September, Korver said, he could barely get a single 3-point shot up.

“I couldn’t really shoot until September,” Korver recently told reporters. “I couldn’t get the ball to the rim from 3 until September.”

The 35-year-old sniper was making his way back from surgery to repair ruptured ligaments in his right ankle after Cleveland's Matthew Dellavedova dove for a ball and into Korver’s ankle in last year's Eastern Conference finals.

Korver also had two bone spurs and multiple bone fragments removed from his right elbow. The two surgeries were just over a month apart in May and June.

It's no wonder Korver hasn't looked like his normal self, shooting an uncharacteristic 39.8 percent from 3-point range this season, his lowest percentage since 2008-09.

Some have wondered what happened to Korver, who made 49.2 percent of his 3-point tries and buried 221 treys in 2014-15, compared to 158 this season.

"It kind of goes under the radar. A lot of people don’t know what really happened with him -- that he had two surgeries," teammate Al Horford said. "I wasn’t expecting him to be back playing with us for probably a couple of months, and he was ready to go from training camp.”

Korver played in 80 games this season, but it probably felt like a roller-coaster ride, to say the least. In November, Korver shot 43.7 percent from behind the arc. For the month of December, his 3-point shooting dipped to 29.6 percent.

“Not good,” Korver said with a chuckle when asked to describe his shooting this season compared to last. “For me, I had three months [after the surgeries] where I couldn’t do anything. My upper body and lower body were stuck. Things eventually got healthy, but I just wasn’t in sync. It just took time for that to happen.

“Especially in December, you go from feeling like you got some things figured out about shooting, and then all of a sudden it’s like, ‘I don’t know what I am doing.’”

For someone who has spent his entire basketball life shooting, Korver isn’t used to that feeling. Last season, Korver told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that he had to adjust his shot because of pain in his elbow and needing to wear a compression band on his elbow. Post-surgery, Korver admitted, he did some more tinkering with his shot.

But at least his body is feeling good again. And his shot certainly looked good in Game 2, in which he knocked down four 3-pointers in the first five-plus minutes to help the Hawks jump all over the Celtics en route to a 2-0 series lead. It was vintage Korver, who nailed five of seven 3s and scored 17 points.

“Korver is one of the main things we talk about every time we walk into this building, every time we walk into the hotel, every time we land in Atlanta,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “We know that we have to be in his airspace, or else we are toast.”

Korver hopes his shooting struggles are behind him and that his shot feels as smooth as it has in the past. If he shoots like he did in Game 2, Korver might help the Hawks push the Celtics to the brink of elimination Friday at TD Garden.

“This season, it took a long time for the dots to be connected,” Korver said. “I think things got healthy fairly early in the season, but I feel like I was trying to correct things as games were going on. That was difficult and frustrating. The last little bit, I’ve felt a lot better.”

One thing is certain: Teague will keep looking to feed Korver.