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Long Island's Tobias Harris steps up to lead 76ers past Nets

76ers forward Tobias Harris in the first quarter

76ers forward Tobias Harris in the first quarter during Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference quarterfinals between the Nets and 76ers on Thursday at Barclays Center. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Tobias Harris delivered when the 76ers needed it most Thursday night.

Harris, who grew up in Dix Hills, scored 29 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and hit all six of his three-point attempts to spark the 76ers to a 131-115 win over the Nets in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.

The performance helped give Philadelphia a 2-1 edge in the best-of-seven series. It also ruined a golden opportunity for the Nets because the 76ers’ leading scorer, Joel Embiid, sat out the game because of a sore knee.

It was exactly the type of postseason performance the 76ers were looking for when they acquired Harris in a trade with the Clippers in early February.

“It’s no secret when you lose Joel Embiid, you lose firepower offensively,” coach Brett Brown said. “It’s to Tobias’ credit that he recognized that we needed someplace to go to get points.

“Tonight, he’s coming back to New York. I’m proud of him. He’s good people and he was fantastic.”

Harris, along with most of his teammates, was far from fantastic in Philadelphia’s Game 1 loss. He looked slightly better in Game 2, scoring 12 points during the 76ers’ 51-point third quarter.

On Thursday night, however, the former standout at Half Hollow Hills West and Long Island Lutheran demonstrated why Brown calls him the quiet assassin, shooting 11-for-18 overall.

“I felt good,” Harris said. “I just came in knowing with Joel down, it was a big scoring loss we had out there. I had to be aggressive from the start. I got some good looks throughout the game. I was able to let it fly, and it felt good for it to go in.

“It was a big game for myself and for the team, too.”

New York Sports