Former Bulls guard Kyle Korver has plenty of friends in Chicago.
But if his ex-coach and teammates get a chance to end Korver's record streak of consecutive games with a made 3-pointer, don't expect it to be erased from the game plan.
Korver and the Atlanta Hawks visit the United Center on Saturday. Korver ran his streak to 102 consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer by draining one 30 seconds into Friday's home game against Golden State.
"Well, I don't like to give up 3-pointers to anyone," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said when asked about Korver's streak. "So that's the way we're going to approach it. We know it's one of their strengths as a team. It's one of his strengths."
Bulls fans remember it well. During two seasons in Chicago from 2010-12, Korver made 238 shots from 3-point range, hitting 42.5 percent.
This year, Korver is knocking down 3-pointers at a rate of 48.8 percent, averaging nearly 3 makes per game. Korver's best season for 3-point percentage was 2009-10 with Utah, when he shot 53.6 percent.
"It requires you to make multiple effort," Thibodeau said. "You've got to get out to his shot. You've got to have the ability to run him off the shot. You have to do that without being undisciplined, where you're just giving wide open shots to other people.
"So it requires you to be very disciplined and to have an awareness of where he is at all times. And he moves great without the ball. If you turn your head on him, he knows how to find an open area. He's very clever."
The Bulls have struggled with making 3-point shots. They're currently tied for last in the NBA (with Detroit) in 3-point percentage, at .321. They are 28th in 3-point baskets made per game, with 5.3.
It's too simplistic to say things would be different if the Bulls had kept Korver instead of trading him to Atlanta as part of a 2012 salary purge.
Korver shot just 31 percent from 3-point range in the 2012 playoff loss to Philadelphia as the Bulls had trouble getting him good looks without Derrick Rose to distract the defense. In the 2011 Eastern Conference finals against Miami, Korver was just 4-for-14 from 3-point range.
So there's more to it than having a great shooter on the floor. The Hawks, as a team, must be doing some things right with their offense.
"He's not the only one on their team (shooting 3s)," Thibodeau said. "(Jeff) Teague is playing great for them. They have a lot of guys shooting 3s. They take 25 3s (per game). Their bigs can all step out and shoot. It puts a lot of pressure on you in many different ways."
Korver broke the previous NBA record of 89 consecutive games with a 3-point basket, held by Dana Barros, on Dec. 6. He hasn't spoken about the streak very often this season.
The Bulls have won four of their last six games and are feeling optimistic about their chances to make a surge, now that everyone but Rose is back in the lineup. The Hawks represent something of a gold standard in the East, sitting in third place with an 18-14 record, which would be good enough for ninth place in the West.