New Jersey Nets star Devin Harris missed a potential game-winning shot in his last game. Perhaps he should let Vince Carter deal with any clutch shooting that may be needed against the Atlanta Hawks.
The Nets, facing the Hawks for the first time since Carter's overtime buzzer-beater early this month, look to sweep the season series when the teams meet at Philips Arena on Friday night.
New Jersey (20-26) has lost seven of eight, failing to capitalize on an excellent chance to pick up a win Wednesday night against Toronto.
Harris missed a wide-open 16-foot jumper at the buzzer as the Nets lost 107-106. It was a shot Harris said he hits "98.6 percent" of the time.
"That's my go-to move, I couldn't ask for anything more," Harris said.
Now, New Jersey will face an Atlanta (26-19) team it trails by 6 1/2 games in the Eastern Conference, but the Nets have won all three meetings between the teams this season and were able to extend that run thanks to an improbable shot by Carter on Jan. 2.
Carter ran down a tipped inbounds pass in the backcourt, then made a 3-pointer at the buzzer from around 10 feet behind the arc as New Jersey beat Atlanta 93-91 in overtime.
Carter finished with 18 points as the Nets rallied from a 20-point halftime deficit. He's averaging 24.3 points versus the Hawks this season, making 58.8 percent (10-for-17) of his shots from 3-point range.
Harris, though, has also played a large role in New Jersey's success against Atlanta, averaging 29.7 points and 9.6 assists while making 46.2 percent (6-for-13) of his attempts from beyond the arc.
Though he missed the biggest shot of the night, Harris finished with 25 points and 10 assists against the Raptors. Harris had been slumping, scoring 10 points or fewer in three of his previous five contests.
Nets center Brook Lopez, meanwhile, is averaging 16.0 points in his last two games and was selected to play in the Rookie Challenge during All-Star weekend. Lopez, drafted 10th overall last year, is averaging 11.5 points and 7.8 rebounds.
Lopez will be matched up in that event with Atlanta's Al Horford, who was selected to play for the sophomore team in the Rookie Challenge. Horford, though, has missed 10 straight games with a bruised right knee and isn't expected to return until next week.
Lacking Horford's inside presence, Atlanta was outrebounded 51-37 by New York in a 112-104 loss on Wednesday night. It was the Hawks' third straight loss and their eighth in the last 12 games.
Atlanta's woes at the free-throw line continued. The Hawks are ranked 29th in the league in that category, making 73.7 percent of their attempts, and were 17-for-32 (53.1 percent) against the Knicks.
"You got to step up and make free throws," Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. "You can't play a close game ... and miss 15 free throws. I mean, that puts you behind the eight ball."
Josh Smith had 26 points for the Hawks, but went 2-for-10 from the charity stripe. The fifth-year forward is averaging 24.3 points and 2.5 blocks in his last four games against New Jersey.
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