CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It didn’t take Kyle Korver long to knock down a 3-pointer in his first game back with the Jazz.
The 37-year-old guard, who was traded from the Cavaliers back to Utah earlier this week, checked into his team’s matchup against the Hornets on Friday with 4:54 to play in the first quarter. Less than 15 seconds later, Korver received a short pass from Rudy Gobert, took one dribble and drilled a shot from behind the arc over the outstretched arm of Hornets center Frank Kaminsky.
First bucket since coming back ✔️ pic.twitter.com/r9kmD4AwUP
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) December 1, 2018
“Players make plays,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said about Korver’s immediate offense. “He’s obviously had a few plays drawn up for him and he came in ready to shoot the ball.”
Korver said he was glad he connected on his first attempt.
“It kind of sets a good tone for the game, for me,” Korver told reporters. “I just wanted to come out and be aggressive. I knew what I was doing maybe a quarter of the time. I’ve got a lot of film to watch and a lot of things to learn.”
The sharpshooter finished the Jazz’s 119-111 win with 14 points and two rebounds. He hit four of his six 3-point attempts in 22 minutes on the floor.
Korver said he and his family were excited to be back in Utah. He also played with the team from 2007-10.
“To come back and know that we have a lot of people in Utah, in the organization but also outside of it, it helps soften the landing (after being traded),” Korver said at shootaround Friday. “That’s important to me. But, also, to come to a good basketball team, play for a great coach (in Snyder).”
Jazz star Donovan Mitchell tallied a game-high 30 points and dished out six assists in the win over Charlotte. He said Korver made an immediate impact.
“He came out and knocked down his first two shots,” Mitchell said. “That’s what he does. It helps us a lot with spacing and gives us confidence in shooting the ball.”
Utah entered the game in Charlotte shooting just 31.9 percent from 3-point range, which ranked 28th in the NBA. Gobert said Korver should help open up the team’s offense.
“I’m trying to do my best to screen for him and get him open,” said Gobert — who registered a double-double in the victory with 20 points and 17 rebounds. “It’s kind of like automatic. It’s fun to watch and fun to be a part of.
“Every time I screen, I know who I am screening for … When it’s guys like Kyle Korver I just get him open and dive to the rim. My guy is going to have to make a choice.”
The Jazz has had an up-and-down start to the season after it finished 2017-18 with a 48-34 record and advanced to the Western Conference semifinals. Korver, however, said he has been impressed by the team’s chemistry so far.
“It’s a really cool group,” Korver said. “This is a really good locker room. Guys get along well. It’s real, it’s genuine. You’re not trying to force conversations. Stuff just kind of flows. Management has done a great job of bringing in not just good basketball players but good people … It feels like a great group.”
The Jazz sent guard Alec Burks and two second-round picks to Cleveland in exchange for Korver.
Utah will return to the court against the Heat in Miami on Sunday. It will carry an 11-12 record into that matchup.