ATLANTA — Kyle Korver couldn’t say it enough: “I just really wanted it to be done.”
In the Atlanta Hawks’ 107-97 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, Korver etched his name into the NBA record book by extending his streak of games with at least one 3-pointer to 89, tying the all-time record.
Korver will vie to break the record on Friday at home against Cleveland.
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Korver typically prefers not to discuss the streak or divert attention toward himself, but he had little choice in the matter after Atlanta’s win.
“It’s been over a long period of time,” said Korver, who had missed the previous four games with a rib contusion. “This thing’s been going on so then this rib thing happens and it’s like, ‘Man, I thought this was going to be done on that game.’ Now I’m sitting on the couch and waiting and not that it’s all bad, this streak or anything, it’s just now I can play some basketball. People talk about it a lot. Hopefully, we can just get back to playing hoops.
Korver needed just 30 seconds on Wednesday to tie the record with a 3-pointer from the right elbow.
The record was previously owned solely by Dana Barros, a 14-year NBA veteran with the Sonics, Celtics, 76ers and Pistons, who stretched his streak over the 1994-95 and 1995-96 campaigns. Eighteen seasons later, that streak had been matched by a 6-foot-7 Creighton product who has poured in more than 1,300 career 3-pointers.
Korver’s streak began on Nov. 4, 2012 (last season) against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Recognized as one of the league’s top long-distance shooters, Korver, now in his 11th season, owns a career 42.1 percentage from behind the arc and has hit a 3-pointer against every team in the NBA.
After downing six triples and notching 23 points Wednesday, he’s has now connected on 232 of 491 three-pointers. That puts him in some impressive company (3-point percentage) during the streak:
Kyle Korver: 89 games (47.3) Dana Barros: 89 games (44.2 percent) Michael Adams: 79 games (36.4 percent) Dennis Scott: 78 games (42.7 percent) Reggie Miller: 68 games (44.2 percent)
To put the streak in greater perspective, consider that some of the game’s top shooters — Larry Bird, Stephen Curry, Ray Allen, Peja Stojakovic, Dirk Nowitzki — never even hit the 55-game mark. In fact, Allen, the league’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made (2,877) has never posted a streak longer than 47 games.
In recent days, Korver said the rib injury was in a sensitive spot, preventing him from exercising and that increased his frustration. When the team went on a recent two-game road trip, he was left at home, idle.
“I think the happiest person is probably my wife,” he said. “I was just not fun to be around at the house the last five days. I don’t know what to do. I can’t really exercise or do things when the team’s on the road so I can’t really be out and about, really. So I’m just sitting at home watching Season One of ‘Arrow.’ I can’t do anything and so I don’t think I was very pleasant to be around so I’m glad it’s done.”
Like an opposing baseball team that wants to end a hitting streak or avoid a no-hitter, Korver said as he approached the record, teams increasingly defended him harder. That’s why he went for his first triple right off the bat, so to speak.
“I was just trying to get it out of the way,” he said. “… A lot of the teams have been focused on it. It’s been hard to get shots the last few games. I was glad it went down and we could just play the rest of the game.”
Korver said the rib injury remains somewhat sore but, clearly, he’s feeling better.
“I felt like I could have run all night,” he said.
After improving to 10-10 on the season against a solid Clippers (12-7) team, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer was just glad to have Korver back in the lineup. Atlanta lost 102-100 to San Antonio on Monday and could have used Korver’s services.
“We’re all just happy to see Kyle healthy,” Budenholzer said. “He’s a heck of a shooter and he showed that tonight. He really adds to us and I think he’s underrated as far as a team defender and what he brings to both ends. Our group obviously welcomes him back and, hopefully, we can keep it going.”
And Korver only needs to keep it going for one more game to own the record by himself. He credited his teammates for setting screens and looking to get him shots, citing point guard Jeff Teague in particular.
“Everybody’s been very aware of this and I think it meant something to a lot of people,” he said. “… So that’s cool.”