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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Joe Harris makes most of ‘dream’ Nets performance

Joe Harris insisted he wasn’t concerned by his limited touches in Game 1.

Everything was new for the Nets on Saturday night. Near-capacity crowd. New starting lineup. He wasn’t going to overreact to one game.

As long as the Nets improved their floor spacing and moved the ball, Harris said, good things would happen. He looked like a psychic Tuesday night. After preaching patience, Harris was rewarded.

The ball found its way to Harris early and often, and he made the most of his opportunities. The Nets’ sharpshooting guard scored 15 of his playoff career-high 25 points in the first quarter, setting the tone for the Game 2, 130-108 rout of the Celtics on Tuesday night that gives the Nets a 2-0 series lead.

Harris equaled a Nets playoff record for made 3-pointers, previously held by Deron Williams, by going 7-for-10 and was a perfect 4-for-4 in the first quarter.

“That’s a shooter’s dream right there, especially with this group,” said Harris, who scored just 10 points on 4 of 11 shooting in the Game 1 victory. “Obviously, you’re trying to make it as good of an offensive possession as you can, but those guys were looking for me early on after I got the first couple to go.”

Nets guard Joe Harrisfor the NY POST

With the Celtics focused on the Big 3 of James Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, it opened things up for Harris. And with the Nets moving the ball, and spacing the court, Harris had one open look after another. The NBA’s regular season leader in 3-point percentage at 47.5 percent made the Celtics pay.

“It’s exactly what we talked about this morning,” Harris said. “A lot of it is just sort of feeling the game, too. In Game 1, we weren’t ourselves offensively. I think it was just getting settled in, kind of trying to find our way, there was a lot of excitement getting back with the fans in the building.

“But tonight, it was a lot of stuff that we worked on in practice in terms of spacing, getting to our spots and trying to make the extra pass, too. We saw in Game 1 how much they collapsed when guys get into the paint or even how keyed in they were with Kyrie, James in a lot of situations.”

In Game 1, Harden, Irving and Durant combined for 82 points in a 99-90 victory. They only had 61 on Tuesday, but the trio combined for 18 assists and it led to a much easier victory.

“It makes it tough on the opposing team just to stay disciplined in defensive sets when you’ve got Joe Harris making shots like that,” Irving said. “It creates open opportunities for us to drive. When we’re playing like that, it definitely makes the game a lot easier.”

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