The Brooklyn Nets came into their matchup against the Orlando Magic looking to get back to .500 and climb higher in the Eastern Conference rankings. It was a struggle to etch out a win against a Magic squad that will likely be back in the NBA Draft Lottery this spring, but the Nets were able to get into the win column with a 109-102 victory.
All-Star forward Kevin Durant had his highest scoring output of the season with 45 points on just 24 shots and added 7 rebounds and 5 assists in the contest. The Nets star’s performance had Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James singing his praises.
“KD NOT NICE!!! SHEESH,” James tweeted on November 28.
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Jacque Vaughan Gives Joe Harris His Vote of Approval
Although Durant turned heads with his display in the win over the Magic, it was not the most important performance for the Nets. That accolade would belong to Nets starter Joe Harris. Harris has struggled following his return from two ankle surgeries last season. After leading the league in three-point percentage in his last full season in 2020-21 with a sizzling 47.5% from beyond the arc, Harris has shot just 32.3% from long range this season, averaging just 7.2 points per game.
But the Nets sharpshooter took the lid off the basket against the Magic, dropping a much-needed 17 points and shooting 2-8 from long range. Nets head coach Jacque Vaughan says that despite his shooting woes, the Nets trust Harris to make the necessary plays when he is on the floor during crunch time.
“I think it really shows the confidence that we have in him, the trust that we have in him, even when he’s not making shots,” Vaughan said after the win. “He’s gonna be in the right place, do the right thing, be in the right coverage, majority of the time. The shots are gonna come around.”
Seth Curry Has Advice for Joe Harris Shooting Woes
Surprisingly, shooting slumps can happen to the best players, especially if they are coming off of injuries. Just ask Golden State Warriors star, Klay Thompson. Thompson is a historically great shooter but struggled to find the range at the beginning of the season. But after finding his rhythm, he has now upped his percentage to 40% from long-range.
Harris came into this season having gone almost a full year without seeing any NBA action after two surgeries, so naturally, he will need time to reacclimate himself to the NBA pace. But Harris’ teammate Seth Curry, who is also returning from offseason ankle surgery, says despite the sharpshooter’s early struggles, he expects him to break out of his funk.
“Yeah, stick to your routines, keep working hard, and try not to lose your confidence,” Curry said when asked if he had any advice for Harris.
“That’s pretty much the basis of it. I always say I’m a big believer in the law of averages so [during] off stretches or when I’m out of rhythm a little bit, [I believe] it’ll come back to you. So sooner or later he’s going to have a stretch where he makes everything. Just stick to your routines, don’t get down on yourself, and keep being aggressive.”
If the Nets want to have a deep run this season, Harris and his shooting will play a major role. For Brooklyn’s sake, he’ll need to break out of the funk soon.