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Utah Jazz: Korver set to break NBA 3-point record

Published: Sunday, April 11 2010 12:55 a.m. MDT

Kyle Korver (Provided by Utah Jazz) Kyle Korver (Provided by Utah Jazz)

SALT LAKE CITY — He's shooting 54.1 percent from 3-point range, on pace to supplant Steve Kerr's 1994-95 NBA single-season record of 52.4 percent.

But with just two games remaining in the Jazz's 2009-10 regular season, backup shooting guard Kyle Korver really doesn't want to hear it.

Even though he has.

"I spend so much time trying to block that out, too," Korver said. "People talk about it all the time. I'm like, 'I don't want to know about it.'

"My brother's like, 'Yo, don't shoot any more. We need that record,' " added Korver, a free agent this offseason. "And I'm like, 'I don't want the record like that.' That's not how you really get it."

Even if he shot 0-for-3 in the Jazz's last two outings — Tuesday at Golden State, Wednesday at home against Phoenix — Korver, 59-of-109 in 50 games so far this season, would own the record.

But he's not thinking that way, either.

He's simply firing when warranted and content to let chips — and treys — fall where they may.

That's the attitude Korver seemed to have Friday, when in a victory at New Orleans he opened 2-for-11 from the field — but still kept on shooting.

Korver wound up hitting his last two 3-point attempts, both critical in the fourth quarter, and that both helped the Jazz win and aided his personal numbers.

"I've always been someone that keeps on shooting, and sometimes it's gotten me in trouble. Sometimes it's been good. (Friday) it was good," he said. "But, you know, you never want to be afraid. I try to make the best basketball play. If the shot is there, I'll take it every time. If the shot's not there or I see someone else more open, I'll pass it to them.

"But I didn't feel like I took a bad shot (Friday). I just took the shots that were there, and in the first half it was one of those nights where they weren't going in. But I just tried to stay with it."

Jazz coach Jerry Sloan didn't seem to mind — too much.

"Well," Sloan said with some pack to his punch, "he had to hit some sometime. I mean, if you're shooter you can't just talk about it. You've got to make 'em."

Korver, who had surgery on his shooting wrist in the offseason and arthroscopic knee surgery that delayed his season's start, seemingly figures much the same.

"Like I said, if they're there I'm gonna keep on taking 'em," he said.

"The last couple weeks I haven't gotten a whole lot of good looks for 3, and I haven't had really good rhythm with my shot. In games, I haven't had a lot of looks. (Friday), I just tried to be aggressive, because going into the playoffs you don't want to be tentative."

PRAISING KOUFOS: Friday marked a monumental step in the career of second-season big man Kosta Koufos, who because of injured center Mehmet Okur's absence wound up logging 16 minutes.

That's because, perhaps for the first time ever, reporters actually heard Sloan praise Koufos' for improved comprehension of the game.

"Understand the circumstances you're in. What are you trying to do on each possession, both ends of the floor? Pushing the pick-and-roll, going over the top of the pick-and-roll, all those things," Sloan said. "He's much better than what he was, and that's the biggest thing, is he's finally learned to try to understand (situational responses) rather than just say maybe it's our fault."

After grabbing four rebounds and scoring a season high-tying six points, including one particularly key fourth-quarter board-and-bucket play, Koufos readily acknowledged a much greater comfort than he had at this time in his rookie season.

"I feel a lot better than last year," he said. "It's just a slower pace now. I'm just running through the system, making sure I get better shots."

TOUGH CALL: Sloan hopes both Okur (Achilles tendinitis) and starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko (calf strain) can play in one or both of Utah's final two games.

But he isn't sure how he'll work the two, especially Kirilenko, back in.

"Andrei's been out how long? Two, three weeks," Sloan said of a question whose answer actually is more like most of four. "You know, we need to get him back — but we also need to win. So how much do you play him if he's able to play?"

e-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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