No one on the Nets is so maudlin as to plead to “win one for Joe Harris” in their first-round playoff series against the defending NBA champion Raptors. But when Harris left the NBA campus at Disney World in Orlando for undisclosed personal reasons to tend to a family matter, his absence was felt deeply in a Game 3 loss that put the Nets on the verge of being swept in Game 4 Sunday night.
Because of quarantine protocols to re-enter the “bubble,” the Nets likely would have to push the series to Game 6 or Game 7 to make a Harris return practical. Head coach Jacque Vaughn on Saturday said, “We haven’t assessed that situation yet. My conversations with him were just checking to make sure he was good and to let him know we’re here for him when needed.
“It’s the ultimate compliment to him that he was concerned about the guys and the game, so encouraging of the group. So, while we were checking on him, he was checking on us. It’s Joe Harris to the fullest.”
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot sent a text message to Harris on Friday. “I said, ‘You’re my brother. Whatever you need, you know I’m always here for you,’” Luwawu-Cabarrot said. “He just texted me back and said he appreciated that and to go get that win and keep competing.”
Garrett Temple spoke to Harris about his personal situation the day before Wednesday’s Game 2 loss and urged him to tend to his family.
“We have lives outside of this game . . . that are more important than this game,” Temple said. “I told him he definitely needs to take care of his family, take as much time as he needs. I’ve talked to him since and just continued to tell him I’m praying for him and his family.
“Joe Harris is probably the nicest guy on our team, so when he’s going through something like he’s going through, you definitely think about that.”