CLEVELAND -- Shooting guard Kyle Korver went from a starting spot with the Atlanta Hawks to a reserve role with the Cleveland Cavaliers following an early-January trade, but in the postseason, it is not about starting, and more about finishing.
And fortunately for the Cavaliers, Korver was finishing in Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Toronto Raptors, as he helped the team hold a 60-39 advantage in the fourth quarters of the final two games of the sweep.
“It’s definitely nice to get some shots and knock ‘em down,” Korver said after Game 3. “I feel like a basketball player, not just a decoy out there. Like I said, I know my role on the team and I’m not complaining about anything. It’s just an amazing role and situation for me to be in.”
The Cavaliers used strong shooting from Korver to take a 61-49 lead over the Raptors after the first half of the 109-102 Game 4 win.
The Cavaliers surged ahead of the Raptors, 51-41, thanks to a 17-6 scoring run over a five-minute stretch that started at the eight-minute mark of the second quarter.
During the run, the Cavaliers got a long-distance shot from power forward Kevin Love, as well as a pair of triples from Korver. In addition to the three-pointers, Korver added a pair of jumpers inside the three-point arc.
Korver’s second three-pointer at the 3:54 mark of the second quarter gave the Cavaliers their first double-digit lead of the game. Korver hit four of his first five shots from the field, including two of his three looks from three-point range.
Then, Korver added a pair of late second-quarter three-pointers that keyed an 8-0 scoring run and helped put the Cavaliers in front of the Raptors by 12 points at the half.
“He’s a guy that at least being here the last three years, were game-planning for him in Atlanta,” Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love said. “We knew that we had to have eyes on him at all times.
“He’s one of the very few guys in the league that only needs that split second of air time to get his shot off, and when you have a guy that can pass the ball like LeBron or a guy that draws so much attention like Kyrie, you try to screen and free him up so he can get those off. (It) was a great visual of what you see from Kyle Korver, and he played great for us.”
After getting just nine shots in the first two games against the Raptors, Korver responded by knocking down eight of his 12 looks from three-point range over the final two victories.
And as the playoffs intensify in the Eastern Conference Finals, which get underway in a week, the Cavaliers are again going to look to Korver for a spark.
“That’s just Kyle being himself, the best shooter in the world,” Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving said. “I’m glad that he’s on our team this year and that other teams have to scheme for him. He just does a great job of not only coming off and being ready to shoot, but being ready to make that extra pass and see the weak-side action.”
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