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Look for Nets' Joe Harris to find his shot in Game 4 against Bucks

Joe Harris #12 of the Nets attempts a

Joe Harris #12 of the Nets attempts a jump shot against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game Two of the Second Round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center on Monday, June 7, 2021. Credit: Steven Ryan

It’s not going to happen again.

That pretty much sums up the attitude the Nets have about the awful shooting night Joe Harris had in their Game 3 loss to Milwaukee on Thursday night.

It wasn’t that Bucks’ defense that did anything special. The shots were there for the Nets sharpshooter. Harris just couldn’t convert them with his usual workmanlike efficiency.

Instead, the most efficient shooter in the NBA had his worst performance of the season in one of the Nets’ most important games. He made just one of his 11 shots and was 1-for-7 from three-point range. The fact that the Nets lost the game by just three points just hammered home how costly his struggle was for the team.

Now, it’s time to move on.

"I’m not worried about Joe Harris at all," Nets coach Steve Nash said. "He’s smart. He’s tough. He’s an incredible shooter. And if he gets the same looks, my money is on him."

If the Nets are going to go deep in the playoffs, they are going to need Harris to revert to his regular-season form, when he once again led the league in three-point shooting. Harris ended the regular season shooting 50.5% from the field and 47.5% from three-point range. Both were career highs.

Harris is not the sort of player who gets in a protracted shooting rut. He followed one of his worst games of the regular season — a 2-for-8 performance against the Lakers on April 10 — with a 23-point game against Minnesota that included 5-for-8 on threes.

Harris said he doesn’t plan to make any changes to his routine before Game 4 on Sunday.

"It happens in the regular season to where you might have a game here or there where you’re gonna have an off shooting night, and I don’t really change up a lot then," he said. "I think it’s one of those things where definitely you hope to be better the next game and you hope to come out with more focus, and get some stuff to go early on, get the confidence going, get your rhythm back. But I don’t really change a ton in terms of like my routine or what I do in terms of preparation."

Teammate Blake Griffin isn’t worried about Harris bouncing back in Game 4.

"I think that’s one of the great characteristics of a lot of great shooters is that confidence," Griffin said. "I know he was frustrated, but every time Joe shoots, we think it’s going in. He’s been doing it all season long. You’re bound to have some games where you miss some shots

"But he’s going to have more games where he’s making shots. Also, Joe’s worth goes beyond making shots. He’s a physical defender, he plays hard, he’s capable of getting into the defense and making plays, as well. So I have a lot of confidence in him."

To be fair, Harris was far from the only Net who struggled in Game 3. Mike James was 1-for-5, Landry Shamet was 1-for-4. They, too, need to knock down some shots to make the Bucks pay for double-teaming Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

"It was a missed opportunity," Nash said of not taking a commanding 3-0 lead in the series. "We missed a lot of shots, lot of makeable shots but we don’t just chalk it all up to that. We recognize that you still have to find a way to win even if the ball’s not going in the basket like it normally does. We missed a great opportunity but we also have a lot of things that we can improve and clean up and have a better performance."

In other words, they don’t expect it to happen again.

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