It turned out that a seven-day break highlighted by a visit to his Iowa home and bone-chilling sub-zero weather was just what Kyle Korver needed.
The respite, a result of the NBA's all-star break, gave Korver a chance to rest his aching feet. He responded last night with a season-high 31 points, including six three-point baskets, to lift the 76ers to a 104-84 victory over the New York Knicks before a crowd of 13,712 at the Wachovia Center.
Korver, who tied his career high for points and three-pointers made, shot 6 of 7 from beyond the arc and 11 of 14 overall. The team's sixth man scored 14 points in the second quarter to help the Sixers get out to a lead that got as high as 20 points, and tallied 12 in the fourth to put the Knicks away.
To Korver, who has turf toe on his left foot and plantar fasciitis in his right, the rest "definitely helped."
"Any time you get in a rhythm and you've got fresh legs, it's always a bonus," he said. "Unfortunately, in the NBA season with 82 games, you don't always feel that way, so you've got to try to find ways to get in that rhythm."
Mentally, it helped Korver to get back to Pella, Iowa, and spend time with his family. He watched his brother, Kaleb, a senior at Pella High, score 26 points, including the 1,000th of his career, in a victory Friday night.
"I had to try to beat my little brother," Korver said. "He put on a clinic the other night. I've got to give him a call when I get in the car."
As for the famous "H-O-R-S-E" games in the driveway involving the four sharpshooting Korver brothers, those didn't happen.
"It was about 20-below outside, so there was not a single H-O-R-S-E match," he said. "But it was fun seeing them."
Korver's outburst led a 58-point output from the Sixers' bench, a season high. Joe Smith scored 14 points, 12 in the fourth. Willie Green went 4 of 4 in the second quarter, when the Sixers shot 80 percent from the field (12 of 15) and outscored the Knicks, 35-16.
Andre Iguodala, the Sixers' leading scorer, endured a 1-of-9 shooting night but didn't let it affect the rest of his game. He had 10 points, nine assists, two steals and two blocked shots.
"He continued to play," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "He made three or four excellent passes down low. He continued to rebound and pass the ball. That's maturity. That's learning at certain times of the game, when things are not working, try other things. He did those extremely well."
"If you don't see something going your way, you've got to switch it up and find something else to do," Iguodala said. "I just felt like I could pick it up by creating for other guys, rebounding the ball and making some key defensive plays."
The Sixers shot 55.1 percent from the field and outrebounded the Knicks by 41-32. However, New York was without David Lee, the NBA's No. 6 rebounder with a 10.7 average, who missed the game with flu-like symptoms.
The Sixers got into an 11-point hole in the first quarter before generating a nifty 26-point turnaround that gave them a 53-38 lead at the half. They increased their margin to 20, the last time at 66-46 midway through the third quarter, before the Knicks started showing signs of life.
The Knicks got as close as five, the last time at 76-71 on Jamal Crawford's two free throws with 8 minutes, 53 seconds remaining, before the Sixers recovered.
The key sequence came as the Sixers held an 81-74 lead. Smith hit a lefthanded layup and was fouled but missed the free throw. However, Samuel Dalembert wrestled the rebound away from a Knick and got the ball to Iguodala, who fed Korver for a three-ball with 6:28 to play to boost the Sixers' lead to 86-74.
The Sixers got two more three-balls from Korver and two more conventional three-point plays from Smith over the next three minutes to put the game away.
After the game, Korver said he drew from the advice of the Rev. Charles H. Ellis III, the pastor of Green's church in Detroit, who officiated at the pregame chapel service.
"He talked about finishing, in life and in basketball games," Korver said. "I was kind of thinking about that with five minutes left. He talked about this in the chapel, and we've got to finish this thing."
The Sixers did, and finished their seven-game homestand with a 3-4 record. They will play road games tomorrow at Charlotte and Saturday at Milwaukee, then return home for the start of a six-game homestand on Monday night against Sacramento.