Korver takes aim at Conseco

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Teddy Greenstein
Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Big Ten basketball tournament featured shooting that was as accurate as what you’d see in a paintball match, and some players attributed the misses to the Conseco Fieldhouse rims.

Ohio State shot 32.2 percent against Northwestern—and won. And remember that 36-33 game between Wisconsin and Penn State? Don’t ask who won. The game of basketball lost.

Well, on the eve of the Bulls’ trip to Indianapolis for Game 3, Kyle Korver’s message was this: Don’t blame the gym.

“I think it’s a great shooting arena,” he said. “I like a darker background, so when you’re shooting around before the game, you’re able to get into a good rhythm because it’s all dark seats. I don’t understand why anyone would say it’s not a good shooting arena.”

Korver could probably launch a sesame seed into a beer bottle from 20 feet, so perhaps it’s not fair to compare him to college kids.

Korver already has had two giant moments in this series. He broke a 99-99 tie in Game 1 by drilling a 3-pointer with 48 seconds to play. And he turned a tense, two-point lead into five in Game 2 by hitting a jumper off a Joakim Noah feed with 1:04 to play.

“It’s nice to hit shots,” he said, “but I don’t think I played very well in the last game.”

I gave (Mike) Dunleavy a couple of shots I didn’t want to give him and got caught in a couple of screens. It’s great hitting the shots; it builds confidence. But I don’t think anyone here is satisfied with how they’re playing right now.”

OK, but Korver continues to establish himself as the Bulls’ modern-day version of John Paxson and Steve Kerr.

During the regular season, he led the NBA in clutch 3-point percentage at 46.2 percent (12-for-26). NBA.com StatsCube defines that as shots that come in the final five minutes of a game (or overtime) when a team leads or trails by five points or fewer.

Korver has been perfect from long range in the series, going 5-for-5.

Derrick Rose, meanwhile, is just 2-for-14 from downtown.

“He’s such a rhythm shooter,” Korver said. “He has had to take some shots from half-court and some step-back 3s (with the shot-clock winding down).

“Everyone says to me: ‘Just shoot it every time,’ but if you miss a couple of those, it really kills your rhythm. And he has had to take a lot of tough 3s. It will come back around for him.”

Last updated: 2:16 pm Thursday, December 20, 2012

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