3. Harris, Crabbe give the Nets a little more punch
Joe Harris missed Monday’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, in which the Brooklyn Nets shot a season-low 5-for-42 from 3-point range.
Allen Crabbe, meanwhile, had missed the last 26 games recovering from a sore right knee.
Harris provided a big spark for the Nets after being out with a sore right hip, providing 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting overall and going 3-of-6 from deep to go with five rebounds.
Harris helped trigger Brooklyn’s big second quarter, in which the Nets hung 42 points on the Denver Nuggets, scoring 11 points with a nifty combination of deep shots and runs to the basket.
He is carrying a bigger load than he has before, averaging a career-high 29.7 minutes per game in 51 games this season. All 51 of those appearances have been as a starter after making just 26 starts over his first four NBA seasons.
Harris has played 1,516 minutes already this season and is on pace to smash his career-high of 1,975 set last season.
But on Wednesday, Harris’ shot looked more fluid and natural than it has in awhile. He entered play locked in one of his longest slumps of the season, having his just 38.5 percent overall and 29.6 percent from deep over his last five games.
At 45.4 percent on the season from long range, Harris is currently fourth in the NBA and was confirmed Tuesday night as being invited to participate in the Three-Point Contest at All-Star Weekend, the first Net in the competition since Joe Johnson in 2014.
It was encouraging to see him back in rhythm after some recent struggles.
Crabbe played only 13 minutes in his return, scoring five points on 2-of-5 shooting and making 1-of-2 from downtown. He also had three assists — uncharacteristic for a player averaging just 1.1 dimes per game this season.
He looked comfortable and on balance, even if the one 3-pointer he missed was off by a lot.
Crabbe was one of the hottest shooters in the NBA at the time he went down in mid-December and if he can quickly get back to that level, it can’t be anything but a positive for the Nets, who are still shooting just 30.8 percent from 3-point range over their last seven games — even after hitting a season-best 55.9 percent against the Nuggets.