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Nets Insider: Korver's struggles hurt Hawks

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Kyle Korver misses 17 of his last 24 shots, allowing the Nets to get back into the series.Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

Kyle Korver misses 17 of his last 24 shots, allowing the Nets to get back into the series.

ATLANTA – Kyle Korver went from being the Hawks’ top scorer in the opening two games to shooting blanks when the series shifted to Brooklyn.

He went into Game 4 in Atlanta having missed 17 of his last 24 shots, getting chased around the perimeter by Bojan Bogdanovic and Alan Anderson.

“A lot of my shots are tougher shots, but I just got to knock some more down,” Korver said.

Korver’s misfires – which included 4-for-18 shooting from beyond the arc in Games 2 & 3 — were one of the biggest reasons the Hawks found themselves Wednesday trying to stave off the surging eighth-seeded Nets, with the series hanging in the balance. Historically, when the series is knotted at two, the winner of Game 5 advances 82 percent of the time.

Korver compared this series to Atlanta’s last season, when the Hawks were seeded eighth and took Indiana to seven games in the opening round. But in drawing the comparison, Korver managed to work in a backhanded comment about Brooklyn’s payroll – the highest in the NBA.

“It’s a very similar story to last year,” Korver said. “We thought we were a much better team last year than our record showed. We were confident in the playoffs. If you ask them, they probably feel the same way. They have some really talented players. They have an incredibly high payroll for a reason.”

Atlanta forward DeMarre Carroll blamed the media for any suggestions that the Hawks, who won 60 games during the regular season, were struggling heading into pivotal Game 5.

“It’s the media. That’s what they do,” Carroll said. “They make stories. You got to give Brooklyn credit, there’s a lot of good guys over there, former All-Stars. They have a lot of good talent. But at the same token, not taking anything away from them, I don’t think we played some of our best basketball yet. …We haven’t played the way we needed to.”

MASON PLUMMETTING

Around midseason, Mason Plumlee was the best story the Nets had going for themselves. He had supplanted Brook Lopez in the starting lineup, deemed untouchable by Brooklyn at the trade deadline.

But in this playoff series, the second year player out of Duke is essentially out of the rotation, logging just eight combined minutes in Games 3 & 4. Part of the reason is his poor foul shooting: When Plumlee was inserted in the third quarter of Monday’s victory, Atlanta immediately fouled the center on purpose.

Plumlee, who shot 49.5 percent from the foul line during the regular season, missed both attempts and was subbed out after 18 seconds.

“I wasn’t going to let them keep doing it and kill the momentum,” Hollins said.

Plumlee was practicing his foul shooting pregame Wednesday.

“It’s frustrating if you miss both. But it’s a good strategy (to hack on purpose) if it works and it can backfire too. So I’m looking forward to that,” Plumlee said.

SERGEY PROGRESSING

Rehabbing from his knee surgery, Sergey Karasev is expected to resume contact basketball in August, the Nets forward told the Daily News.

The 21-year-old Russian, who tore his MCL in March, has not been cleared to run or shoot yet, so he’s been rehabbing on the stationary bike and doing squats, among other exercises.

Karasev, who is signed with the Nets through the 2016-17 season, said he expects to travel with the Summer League squad even though he won’t be able to play.

“Doctors said it’s a pretty good progression, he’s pretty happy with the progression,” Karasev said. “Right now, it’s just pretty boring, the situation, the same thing every day. But it’s getting better.”

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