PHILADELPHIA — Joe Harris was one of the many feel-good aspects of this Nets season, a marksman who was integral in the franchise’s first playoff berth in four years. A second-round pick who appeared in just five games three years ago, and became one of the league’s premier 3-point shooters this year.
His value was obvious in Game 1 of this first-round playoff series, and it wasn’t a coincidence Monday night’s result was so lopsided when you look at his numbers, or lack thereof. He was a non-factor, completely shut down.
Harris, the reigning NBA 3-point contest champion, attempted just four shots and made one of them across 26 impact-less minutes, as the Nets were blitzed in Game 2 by the 76ers, 145-123, at Wells Fargo Center, the series knotted up at one and now headed back to Brooklyn.
“It’s tough, they were blocking a lot of the screening situations,” said Harris, who misfired on both his 3-point attempts after scoring 13 points in Game 1. “They were forcing me to the rim, taking away any sort of 3-point threats. But a lot of it is on me, just being able to move a little more aggressively, hunt different shots maybe in transition. You can’t just be reliant on getting into the half-court and expecting screens to get open. It’s just not easy in the playoffs, and everybody kind of game plans for individual guys.”
“You got to be a little bit more determined moving without the ball.”
The 76ers ran Harris off the 3-point line, forcing him to do things he wasn’t comfortable doing. There was no space on the perimeter. The 76ers overplayed him in the first game of the series, just not nearly as much. The last time Harris was limited to so few shot attempts was in late November, well before he would set a career-high by averaging 13.7 points and shooting 47.1 percent from beyond the arc. The 76ers were well aware of his potency. He scored 22 points and hit four 3-pointers in a March 28 meeting.
“Credit to them, they did a good job denying Joe,” D’Angelo Russell said. “We definitely need him to go for us to go. We’ll look at the film, see what we can do.”