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Utah Jazz: Korver finally finds his touch

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Utah's Kyle Korver beats Charlotte's Gerald Wallace to the basket.

Utah’s Kyle Korver beats Charlotte’s Gerald Wallace to the basket.

Tom Smart, Deseret Morning News

Charlotte had cut Utah's lead to three points with a 24-9 fourth-quarter run Tuesday night in EnergySolutions Arena, and Jazzman Kyle Korver missed a 3-point shot from the right corner, only to see the Bobcats make it a 26-9 run with a couple of free throws.

That miss — in what had been a one-point night so far for Korver — had him muttering to himself.

"I knew it was a little flat when I shot it, and I was running back down the floor (saying), 'I shot it a little flat,'" Korver said.

Thirty-one seconds later, after Andrei Kirilenko had made a driving layup to stop the bleeding, Korver was back in that same right-wing corner when Deron Williams found him and gave him another chance.

"The next time I got it, I saw it all the way," Korver recalled. "I saw my man drifting off, got my feet set and said, 'Put a little more arch on it this time,' and was able to get one — and got a couple more open looks, too."

That 3-pointer gave the Jazz eight points of daylight, and that kind of a basket makes a guy like shooting specialist Korver think, "All right, now I'm going. Let's get another one," he said.

Thirty-seven seconds later, he was in the left corner when Kirilenko got stuck in the air with the ball and found him for a second deadly 3-pointer to make it a nine-point lead. And two minutes after that, Korver knocked down another 3.

Korver only had 10 of Utah's 128 points, but they definitely made a big difference when they came.

"I've never had so many open looks in the fourth quarter," said Korver, who came to the Jazz from Philadelphia largely as a result of Utah's last game at Charlotte, when coach Jerry Sloan banished Gordan Giricek to the locker room and sent him home from the road trip and the Jazz traded for Korver less than two weeks later, on Dec. 29.

"We have guys that just command some attention, and I was able to spot up. In the past, I might get some open looks earlier in the game, and toward the end of the game, guys would stick closer to me," said Korver, claiming he's only doing the job he thinks the Jazz brought him here to do.

"It's not like I hit tough shots," he said. But they were big ones.

"Makes me feel good inside," Korver said. "It's fun. It's the game of basketball. We hit a couple shots, were able to get a couple pick-and-rolls and Carlos (Boozer) got a couple dunks. That's just what I try to do."

Korver missed his first four shots , but when he misses, he's analyzing why.

"Usually I'll know that I left it a little short, or I didn't use my legs enough or something like that. Next time, I'll try to adjust to it. A couple shots were off the back of the rim, or they were in and out, you know, and so they're right there. I wasn't throwing up airballs, so I'm still confident in it," he said.

There was a time when Korver wanted to get even with the misses, and he still has to guard against that.

"Normally I get a little upset at myself, but not really like a frustration," he said. "I've shot a lot of shots in my life, and I don't lose confidence in it.

"There's certain moments where you know you've got your feet set, you know you're ready for it, and you just have a good feeling about it. It also goes the other way. You don't have your feet set and like, 'Uh, oh, I've got to put a little more on it."

He has matured in his shooting.

"I don't try to force it. I think that's one thing I've grown up in a little way. I used to, once I missed a couple shots, say, 'I've got to prove that I can make them.' So I'd start shooting more. That's something that I've tried to fight, and I still have to fight that some."

Sometimes, he's just plain surprised about getting open shots late in the game.

"I know at New Jersey (March 15) I was surprised. I got two looks at the end and missed them both, and I was surprised that I was open," he said.

Like he said, he never got so many open fourth-quarter opportunities. "I have good teammates," he said. "It won't happen every game, but there's been a lot of games I've had wide-open looks in the fourth quarter, and I didn't have very good rhythm up until that point," just like Tuesday night. "But I got a couple shots in a row and knocked a couple down."

E-mail: lham@desnews.com