Game day: Hawks need Korver to find scoring touch

Kyle Korver, shown here getting a rebound in the series-clinching win over Washington, has been struggling offensively. (Brad Mills, USA Today)

Kyle Korver, shown here getting a rebound in the series-clinching win over Washington, has been struggling offensively.  (Brad Mills, USA Today)

Kyle Korver, shown here getting a rebound in the series-clinching win over Washington, has been struggling offensively. (Brad Mills, USA Today)

Welcome to the Eastern Conference finals. (It’s the first time I’ve typed those words in Atlanta, since, well, ever.)

If you missed it, click this link to go to a full column on MyAJC about this unique third-round match-up againsst Cleveland: It’s the Hawks’ socialism style offense vs. LeBron James and lesser Cavaliers.

Now, onto this blog: The Hawks have managed to reach the conference finals despite Kyle Korver’s offensive struggles, primarily fortwo reasons: 1) Korver has been strong defensively, including six steals, five rebounds and two blocked shots in a Game 5 win over Washington; 2) Others have picked up the scoring slack, because that’s what this team does.

But I’m not sure the Hawks can eliminate Cleveland unless Korver starts hitting some shots.

“I think this series is going to be really big for him,” DeMarre Carroll said. “They’ve been face-guarding him the whole time. Hopefully we can get him going early.”

Korver made only six of 22 shots (27.2 percent) in the last four games of the Washington series, when his point totals were 6, 6, 3 and 2, respectively. He was one for 12 from three-point range in the last two games. Cleveland probably isn’t as strong defensively as the Wizards, which feeds into the theory that the Hawks’ ball movement could create problems and Korver may find himself with more open shots.

Cavaliers and former Georgia Tech guard Iman Shumpert said the key to defending Korver is “keeping him uncomfortable. Guys like that want a lot of room. They want space to shoot. But I’ve guarded other shooters. He is a tough matchup. He uses screens well. He also screens for other people to get them open knowing that you won’t help off him. Headsy guy but I’m willing to take that challenge.”

Korver ranked second in the regular season in three-point efficiency at 49.2 percent, but in the postseason he’s 8 for 35 (35 percent). He hasn’t shied away from criticism, even if it probably irritates him that he’s viewed as a one-dimensional player.

“I love basketball. I love the whole game,” he said. “Obviously shooting is usually what I’m best at but I love all of it — defense, passing, setting screens. We all need to be basketball players out there. We’re all unique pieces and we fit together and that’s what makes us who we are.”

We’ll find out more tonight.

Recent ramblings
— MyAJC: Is Hawks’ sum greater than one LeBron?
— AJC: Odds say Cleveland, but when have odds ever said Hawks?
— AJC: Hawks in conference finals — and so is Josh Smith
— MyAJC: Mike Budenholzer’s leadership may continue to grow
— MyAJC: Hawks finally reach East’s promised land
— AJC: Short take: Pierce foiled, Teague finishes strong, Hawks move on
— MyAJC: Hawks in East finals would make Atlanta top 10
— MyAJC: Hawks in one win from higher elevation
— MyAJC: Hawks come through when it matters most
— AJC: Short takes: Horford comes through, Teague bows out
— MyAJC: Desperation shouldn’t be Hawks’ prime motivator
— MyAJC: Brady, Patriots got what they deserved
— AJC: Another lesson for Brady, Patriots: Don’t cheat, don’t lie
— MyAJC: Jalen Collins determined to make Falcons’ pick look good
— AJC: Wall’s injury shifts odds in Hawks’ favor for game, series
— MyAJC: Braves’ McDowell trying to repair some damaged egos
— AJC: Brady’s agent suggests ‘sting operation’ by NFL, Colts. Really?
— AJC: Pats, Brady clearly cheated and Bob Kraft is in denial
— MyAJC: Hawks survive but they didn’t make it easy

Reader Comments 0

27 comments
WAITUNTILNEXTYEAR
WAITUNTILNEXTYEAR

You've got to love how Atlanta is still hoping and praying Kyle Korver shows up for the playoffs.  He hasn't made a play in two months yet all hopes are with him.  Horford and Milllsap both lost their poise and focus last night worrying about LeBron.  Millsap guarding James at half court said it all, Hawks had no idea how to defend him.

Wilbo
Wilbo

Why do the good citizens of Atlanta have to put up with mindless crap like this from this dimwitted jerk? 


Well, Stupid, at least we can give you credit for one thing - this time you didn't get the game dates wrong for the conference finals. I guess that's probably because you didn't mention game dates in this article.


Please, please, please, AJC, dump these 2 stooge bloggers, and get some actual professional talent writing for this paper. You are never, ever, ever going to shake your reputation as a stumbling small town rag if you continue to post no-talent boobs like these two guys. Do you not even care?


Now, for you, Schooltsie Boy, Kyle Korver ought to be nicknamed The Mannequin. The dude can't guard, can't create his own shot, can't drive, and you think a couple of defensive rebounds, a few screens, an assist, and 5-6-7 points a game is going to help win a conference finals?!


Korver needs to take Shumpert out to dinner for putting it so kindly, "Guys like that want a lot of room." "They want space to shoot." Those are just nice ways of saying, "If you actually go out and guard the guy, he doesn't have a chance in hell of getting away from you."


If the Atlanta Hawks are dependent on Kyle Korver to advance to the NBA Finals, they are sunk. (as they may be already after this Game 1 loss at home)


Jeff Schultz doesn't know enough about basketball to fill a hollow tooth. 

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

Korver will find his way, they've been able to win games even though he's been shooting poorly at the three point line.

LukeCage
LukeCage

Welcome to the Eastern Conference Finals version of "SWEET CHRISTMAS!!!", and my fellow bloggers that will be followed up in June with a NBA Finals version...

McGarret
McGarret

Gotta keep firing and shoot way out of it but also need that balance when it ain't falling. He couldn't hit the broad side of a barn at Washington and was drawing plenty iron. Hit a couple and get that confidence back.

Wilbo
Wilbo

@ProfessorB AJC! Could you people PLEASE wake up and notice stuff like this!?


If this knuckle headed blogger is too stupid to understand simple percentages, could you not at least assign the man an editor?


Do you like looking unprofessional and small town?

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Based on poor showings in the 3-pt contest and playoffs so far, I'd say Korver has a problem in pressure situations.  Hope that changes soon as he'll be needed to beat Cleveland should Lebron play anywhere near his potential.

1337S0lja
1337S0lja

@GeorgeJetsen Kyle has hit clutch shots all year long.  I think that he has just had great defenders on him so far in the playoffs. Beal actually plays the same way offensively that Korver does so it was a good situation for him (Beal is much more athletic and can do more of course). Look for Kyle to be more or the same in this series but also remember that he takes a defender off the floor (shumpert) allowing others to penetrate.

The Real Atlantan
The Real Atlantan

He was and is crucial to winning. Thinking he's not just doesn't pass the smell test. He's our best 3-point shooter. You're not better off if you don't have your best. We do have other shooters but we need our best to beat Cleveland.

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

Just keep shooting Kyle!!  His 35% didnt hurt us in the last series b/c he takes his guy out of the game defensively.  They put so much energy in not giving him open shots that other guys get WIDE OPEN.  I dont think iman can hold Kyle like Beale did.


GO HAWKS~!  I say we win in 6

1337S0lja
1337S0lja

@The Real Atlantan @CowbellHell Because anything over 33% is good 3 pt shooting percentage in the NBA and he doesnt shoot nearly as much as some of the other 3 pt shooters around the league. Kinda like if Pero shoots 1 for 3 from 3.

The Real Atlantan
The Real Atlantan

@CowbellHell

His playoff percentage is .350 vs. .487. How does that not hurt. Also he's in for offense not defense. He's a liability on defense.

chem
chem

The raw scoring numbers aren't really reflective of his impact.  The added attention he's receiving in the postseason creates floor space for others to get their own shot, and in the end it doesn't matter who scores just which team scores more.  

ChefTimDix
ChefTimDix

When this is all over the Hawks will have chunks of LaBron in their stools

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

second

                            GO HAWKS !