Joe Harris gave the Brooklyn Nets just what they needed Wednesday night, with some huge 3-pointers down the stretch capped by a game-winning layup.
With the Nets down three to the Charlotte Hornets and a little more than a minute left in regulation, it was Harris who got to Spencer Dinwiddie‘s miss from 3-point range and controlled it enough to flip it back out to Dinwiddie to give Brooklyn another 14 seconds to work with.
Then Harris went against the grain, drifting against traffic to get to the corner, positioning his feet with his heels raised above the sideline awaiting the return pass from Dinwiddie.
When it came, he didn’t hesitate, rising up and flicking the ball into the net for a game-tying 3-pointer with 1:13 remaining.
With Brooklyn again down three about a half-minute later, Harris ran off a screen and took another Dinwiddie feed to deliver another game-tying 3-ball, this one from above the break.
In the second overtime, Harris ran a curl in front of Jared Dudley, driving toward the rim before kicking the ball back out to Dinwiddie. Dinwiddie got into the paint before flipping the ball to an open Harris for a baseline jumper and a six-point lead with 2:46 to go.
When the Hornets charged back to tie the game twice, it was Harris who was Joe on the spot.
Dinwiddie misfired on a long 3 with 29.1 seconds left and after a scramble, Kemba Walker secured the rebound for Charlotte, which used its final timeout to set up a play.
Monk crossed over and tried to beat Kurucs to Monk’s strong side. Kurucs beat Monk to the spot and when Monk tried to change directions, the ball got away from him, bouncing toward the wing.
Harris scooped it up in a manner more akin to a linebacker recovering a bouncing fumble with a clear field ahead of him and raced down the court, beating Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb to the bucket for a go-ahead layup with 3.4 seconds to go.
It was his second basket to close a period on Wednesday, as he gave the Nets their largest lead of the first half, 56-51, with his above-the-break 3 as time expired in the second quarter.
It was all part of a night in which Harris went off for a season-high 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting, knocking down 5-of-8 from deep. Harris scored 15 points in the first half and 10 in the final 11:13 of the game.
His decision-making on when to shoot and when to drive was nearly flawless, with the exception of consecutive possessions in the middle of the third quarter when he committed both of his turnovers in the game.
Harris is averaging 15.3 points per game in December, up from 13.4 in October and 12.6 in November, and is shooting 54,5 percent overall and 55.4 percent from 3 this month.
That’s better than the 52.0 percent and 54.8 percent that had the NBA buzzing in October and has boosted his season numbers to 50.9 percent overall and 47.7 percent from deep (second in the NBA behind Davis Bertans of the San Antonio Spurs).
Harris is shooting 53.2 percent from 3 at home this season, the best mark in the league.
We called last season, when Harris averaged 10.8 points per game and shot 49.1 percent overall and 41.9 percent from long range, a breakout season.
Does this make 2018-19 a breakout-breakout season? Or just confirmation that Joe Harris has turned himself into a solid NBA starter since coming to the Brooklyn Nets?