Kyle Korver has made a 3-pointer in an NBA-record 95 consecutive games.
That alone should be an indication of Korver’s proficiency beyond the arc.
Apparently, the Kings still needed to be reminded how good a shooter Korver is, given how the team gave him every opportunity to score behind the 3-point line Wednesday night.
Korver did that eight times, matching his career high in 3-pointers made in 10 attempts, the latest defensive fiasco by the Kings in a 124-107 loss to the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena.
The Kings have had breakdowns similar all season, and Korver was glad to take advantage.
“He’s a known shooter, and we didn’t defend him like he was was one,” Kings center DeMarcus Cousins said. “Defensively, we just broke down.”
The Kings allowed a season high in points, topping the 122 scored by the Utah Jazz on Dec. 11 at Sleep Train Arena. It was also a season high in points for the Hawks. The Kings gave up 71 points in the second half, the most in a half this season. The Jazz had 64 in the second half of its offensive onslaught last week.
Korver scored a season-high 28 points, thanks in large part to the Kings’ defense.
“I got a lot of really good looks,” Korver said. “I don’t usually get that many. That was a product of a lot of our spacing and just everyone knocking down shots.”
It sure looked like everyone was knocking down shots. Atlanta point guard Jeff Teague had his way with 18 points and tied his career high with 15 assists. Hawks center Al Horford had 25 points and 10 rebounds as the Hawks piled up 38 assists on 58 percent shooting. The 38 assists are the most allowed by the Kings this season, topping the 35 by Utah on Dec. 11.
The Hawks tied their season high with 15 3-pointers.
The Kings however, were still in the game through three quarters, leading 87-85 after overcoming a 14-point deficit in the first quarter.
But even the lead was a bit of false hope in the eyes of Kings coach Michael Malone.
“We traded baskets with them in the third quarter, thinking we were playing well because we were scoring,” Malone said. “But the truth is we were just trading baskets. They got into a groove in the fourth quarter, and Al Horford got going, Kyle Korver got going, and Jeff Teague got wherever he wanted to go.”
The Kings allowed 39 points in the fourth on 70 percent shooting by Atlanta.
Malone said, “We are one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA,” and the gaudy statistics are his fault.
“I don’t even know where to begin,” Malone said. “I guess I’m not doing a good enough job of giving them a game plan they can execute, and I’m not doing a good enough job of explaining who the players are on their team that can make shots. I have to do a better job of communicating with my team so they know full well who we’re playing, who their shooters are, what our coverages are so we don’t give up a 39-point fourth quarter.”
Cousins, however, said Malone cannot take the fall for what’s been a season of defensive mishaps.
“I don’t think that’s the case at all,” Cousins said. “He communicates the message well, but we have to go out there and do it. It’s not on him. That’s on us, especially when they’re running the same play over and over and beating us with the same play.”
The Kings had no issues figuring out what they wanted to do on offense, scoring more than 100 points for the seventh time in eight games.
Cousins had 28 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Isaiah Thomas had 20 points and 10 assists. Rudy Gay had 22 points after leaving Tuesday’s loss at Charlotte with right knee stiffness.
But offense isn’t Malone’s concern. The Kings (7-17) have proven they can figure out how to score, but stopping teams consistently continues to be the biggest obstacle as the Kings remain in last place in the Pacific Division.
The Hawks (14-12) were just the latest team to exploit the problem.