Joe Harris may not be a star, but he’s still got plenty of gravity — enough pull to stretch defenses out of shape, and help the Nets win.
That’s never been more apparent than in this restart.
Harris scored 21 points in Friday’s playoff-clinching win over the Kings. He grabbed four rebounds, handed out four assists and shot 5 of 7 from 3-point range to disrupt Sacramento’s defense.
“Joe is Joe. He’s a 3-point champion,” center Jarrett Allen said. “As long as I’m giving him the ball and he’s shooting and getting my assists up, I’m going to be happy just seeing him shoot. Every time he goes up, I’m thinking it’s going in.
“That’s one of the greatest shooters I’ve ever seen and not only shooting but being able to have the ability to drive the ball. Defenders have to play him honest.”
And that forced honesty has made the Nets more dangerous. They handed out 30 assists against the Kings to just nine turnovers. So far in the restart, they’re second in assist-to-turnover ratio, and third in both assist percentage and assist ratio.
Much of that is due to the floor spacing of Harris, set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
“You see 30 assists, so that’s something we were disappointed in last game. This is not our first time with 30, we’ll continue to try to reach that number,” interim coach Jacque Vaughn said. “But overall, Joe makes the defense react.
“So whether it’s him having pace to shoot a pull-up 3 or his cutting ability, the defense has to honor him. You saw Jarrett got a lob after a timeout play, because the defense was sucked in to Joe. His ability to really draw the defense is huge for us.”
Playing four of the Nets’ five restart games in Orlando, Harris has shot 61.2 percent overall, and a white-hot 56 percent from behind the arc. He’s earned a raise from this year’s $7.6 million salary, but keeping him should be a Nets priority.
“Joe is drawing so much attention,” Tyler Johnson said.
Jarrett Allen (left ankle sprain), Harris (left groin contusion) and Caris LeVert (rest) are all doubtful for Sunday’s game vs. the Clippers.
Harris extended his streak of games with a 3-pointer made to 58, the second-longest streak in team history behind D’Angelo Russell’s 61-game run last season, and the second-longest streak in the league this season next to Buddy Hield.
The five 3-pointers Friday against Sacramento left Harris with 166 for the season. He passed Joe Johnson into fifth place in team single-season history, with Deron Williams up next at 169. Brooklyn has three games left: the Clippers on Sunday, Orlando on Tuesday and wrapping up with Portland.
Source: New York Post
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