- Nick Friedell, Chicago Bulls beat reporter
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CHICAGO -- After missing his fifth wide-open 3-pointer of the fourth quarter in Thursday’s loss to the Orlando Magic, Kyle Korver slowly trudged back to center court in disbelief. He put his hands on his hips and shook his head.
The owner of one of the NBA's smoothest shots looked off in the distance with the countenance of a man who wished he could be anywhere other than where he was standing.
About 20 minutes later, that expression hadn't left his face. Korver, with a sizeable pack of ice wrapped around his elbow and knee, sat in front of his locker staring into space. He couldn't stomach the fact that he might have just cost his team the game because of the fact he was 0-for-6 from beyond the arc in the final 12 minutes.
"All right," he said in a tone that made no secret of the fact that he wasn’t looking forward to the forthcoming Q-and-A.
"A couple of them felt good," he said in a hushed voice. "A couple of them maybe not quite as good, but I thought at least three of them were at the bottom of the bucket. You've got one play where everyone falls down and you're left wide open for a corner 3 and it goes in and out. I need to come through in those [situations]."
Obviously, Korver wasn't the only reason the Bulls lost this game, but he is sure to draw some of the blame from a frustrated fanbase that has yet to see him consistently knock down the big shots.
Even with his struggles, Korver's teammates aren't asking him to stop shooting. They all had confidence in his ability to hit the crucial shot.
"Who wasn't surprised?" Bulls guard Derrick Rose said. "That's God's gift where he just has a touch for shooting. You just got to live with it. We know that that's his job, to shoot the ball. He had some clean looks, we're not mad at that. We know that the majority of the time they'll go in. Tonight it didn't and we've just got to live with it. We just want him to keep his confidence up and if he gets the opportunity again, shoot the ball."
"This is the NBA," Howard said. "Guys are going to have bad shooting nights. But he kept shooting the ball. He made the right play at times. It happens. Everyone has those nights when they can’t shoot the ball. He’s a great shooter. If I could shoot like him, I’d shoot every night too."
That's the attitude his teammates and coaches want him to maintain. After all, Korver still is hitting around 40 percent of his long-range attempts.
"Kyle had some wide-open shots, his shot," Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I can live with that all day. He's a great shooter and had it on line. It doesn't go in. I can live with that."
So can Bulls center Joakim Noah.
"It's part of the game," Noah said. "Sometimes they go in and sometimes they don't. Kyle taking those shots, we live with that all day. Kyle getting an open look, there's no better offense than that in the whole NBA. I don't care what anybody says."
Words of encouragement didn't make Korver feel any better. But that doesn't mean he's going to stop shooting if the opportunity presents itself again.
"I was told a long time ago shooters shoot," Korver said. "If I had another open one, I'd have shot that one too. My whole life in the fourth quarter I shoot threes; sometimes you make them, sometimes you miss them. Tonight hurts."
Kyle Korver's 0-fer will ill-timed on Thursday night.