1. Harris’ work made Russell’s big finish matter
D’Angelo Russell scored the final 12 points of the game for the Brooklyn Nets to lift them to a big win over the Charlotte Hornets.
But if not for Joe Harris’ work earlier in the second half, Russell might not have been able to be in a position to save the Nets late.
Harris scored 13 of his 19 points in the second half, getting to the foul line six times and making all six attempts while going 3-for-4 from the floor and 1-for-2 from deep.
When the Hornets started running the Nets aggressively off the 3-point line in the fourth quarter, Harris took advantage of those sell-outs on the closeout, taking the ball to the hole for easy buckets and foul shots.
Harris had another of the hyper-efficient games that has marked this breakout season on top of the breakout season he had in 2017-18, scoring 19 points Saturday night on just seven shots. He hit 5-of-7 from the floor and 3-of-4 from deep, plus the six foul shots.
In 56 starts this season, Harris is now averaging 13.9 points on just 10.0 shots per game, with a slash line of 50.4/47.0/86.2. He’s back up to second in the NBA in 3-point shooting, trailing only the 48.1 percent of Davis Bertans of the San Antonio Spurs.
Harris is often compared to Kyle Korver, now with the Utah Jazz. That’s in part because a lot of the sets Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson installed in the Nets’ offense were those run for Korver with the Atlanta Hawks when Atkinson was an assistant coach there.
But Harris differs from Korver in his athleticism. He makes quick decisions when a defender closes out on him aggressively and can blow by that defender while also having the strength to finish against bigger defenders inside.
Without the work Harris did in the second half to keep the Nets in the game as Charlotte stormed back from its big deficit, Russell wouldn’t have had a game to save with his late-clock heroics.