Atlanta Hawks wing Kyle Korver has been one of the NBA's top three-point specialists since entering the league in 2003, thriving in the role for four teams and setting a record for highest single-season percentage at 53.6 percent in 2009-10. Korver has improved other aspects of his game over his career, but shooting from the perimeter is what he does and why he continues to get minutes.
On Friday night, Korver added another very impressive record to his resume. Just over halfway into the first quarter of the Hawks' home game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, forward Paul Millsap found Korver open on the right wing for an open triple. Korver nailed it, marking the 90th consecutive game in which he had hit a three-pointer. That mark breaks Dana Barros's record of 89 straight games, set during his time with the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics from 1994 to 1996.
Korver's streak began on November 4, 2012 against the Oklahoma City Thunder in only his second game with the Hawks. (Korver did go 0-for-7 from deep in Game 6 of Atlanta's first-round playoff series against the Indiana Pacers, but that game does not count against the record.) Over these 90 games, Korver has hit only one three-pointer 22 times, proving that he has married impressive volume to the consistency, as well.
We can't yet know how long Korver will stretch the streak, but it's worth assuming he'll continue things for at least a few more games. He's certainly given fans little reason to doubt his ability.
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When he was sidelined by a rib injury following a Nov. 26 loss to the Orlando Magic, Kyle Korver had made a 3-point shot in 88 consecutive games. When he returned to the lineup for the Atlanta Hawks' Wednesday night showdown with the Los Angeles Clippers after four games on the bench, he wasted no time in picking up where he left off:
On the Hawks' first offensive possession of the game, Korver ran the race he's run so many times — starting at the left wing, curling down under the basket along the baseline and back up to the right wing, aided by a couple of screens — and popped out above the 3-point arc as point guard Jeff Teague looked for an opening. Neither DeMarre Carroll nor Paul Millsap really made contact on their screens, though, so defender Willie Green managed to stay close enough to Korver to delay a quick kick and shot. The Hawks didn't give up on the look, though; Teague feinted a drive to the left, then bounced back to his right as Korver faded toward the sideline, creating just enough space from Green for the point guard to make the delivery. Pass, catch, shoot, bottoms — Korver was 1 for 1 from 3-point land, and had just earned himself a piece of NBA history.
Korver has now made a 3-point field goal in 89 straight games, tying a record for long-range consistency set by mid-'90s marksman Dana Barros, who hit a long ball in every game he played from Dec. 16, 1994 (as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers), through Jan. 10, 1996 (as a member of the Boston Celtics). After learning that Korver had matched his all-time mark, Barros struck a gracious note:
Dana Barros reax on Korver tying his record; "It’s no fluke, it takes a real shooter to do that 89 straight. I enjoyed it while it lasted."
— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) December 5, 2013
And Korver, for his part, sounded relieved to have resumed his pursuit after having to spend a few days on the mend, according to George Henry of The Associated Press:
"I'm glad it's done," he said. "It was a long period of time. I think the happiest person was probably my wife. I was just not fun to be around the last five days at the house." [...]
"It really is a team streak," Korver said. "I'm not out there creating those shots. I don't want to make a speech, but there are a lot of people to thank."
Good news, Kyle — you get to spend the next 24 hours making that list, checking it twice and ensuring you don't forget anyone, because you go for sole possession of the record against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night. And you better write them all down — Mike Brown's squad is 19th in the league in 3-point makes allowed per game, tied for 18th in 3-point attempts allowed per game, and ranks 22nd in 3-point percentage allowed this season, so I like your chances.
What was really nice for the Hawks, though, was that Korver wasn't done. He hit five more bombs to tie his season-high of six on nine attempts, going 8 for 12 from the field overall and finishing with a season-best 23 points, five assists and three rebounds in Atlanta's 107-97 win over the visiting Clips. The interior tandem of Paul Millsap (25 points, nine rebounds, six assists, three steals, one block, just one turnover in 37-plus minutes) and Al Horford (21 points, nine rebounds, two assists) led the way for Mike Budenholzer's Hawks, who returned to .500 at 10-10 after dipping below-par following Monday's final-second loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
To hear Clippers coach Doc Rivers tell it, though, it was that first make — the one that extended a streak that began on Nov. 4, 2012, the second game of last season — that set the tone and told the tale, according to the AP: "The first play of the game, Korver got a 3, and that was indicative of our defense all night." It's a refrain with which coaches around the NBA have become pretty familiar over the 89 games, Doc, and the end might not yet be in sight.
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