Nets vs. Raptors: Game 3 NBA Playoffs Preview

Brooklyn will be without Joe Harris for Game 3 and Game 4

With the Brooklyn Nets trailing the Toronto Raptors 2-0 in their first-round playoff series, head coach Jacque Vaughn confirmed on Thursday that the team will not have Joe Harris for either Friday’s Game 3 or Sunday’s Game 4 after the team announced on Wednesday that Harris had left the NBA Campus in Orlando “due to a non-medical personal matter.”

Harris averaged 20.0 points while shooting 62.0 percent and 54.1 percent from 3-point range in six seeding round games, then shot 52.2 percent and 58.3 percent while scoring 19 and 14 points in the first two games of the series. In Game 2, he grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds.

“It’s going to have to be a team effort,” said Garrett Temple of making up for Harris’ absence. “It sounds cliche, but what Joe was able to bring to us, obviously a team they're going to play us a little differently. That was one of the guys that they couldn't leave open or try not to and Toronto being the type of defensive team that they are with the way that they swarm to the ball, Caris (LeVert) is going to have to find even more outlets and guys are going to have to knock down shots to open it up for Caris and (Jarrett Allen) in the lane. Guys are going to have to step up, make shots and obviously Joe had (14) rebounds which was really big for us. So we have to make shots, defend, rebound the ball and probably be even smaller depending on who starts in his place so he brings a lot of toughness, a lot of grit to our team and my prayers are with him and his family going through whatever they're going through.”

Vaughn saw positives in Brooklyn’s Game 2 performance, in which the Nets had a possession to tie the game in the final seconds of a 104-99 loss. After falling in a deep early hole in Game 1 before outscoring the Raptors by 25 to cut that deficit to eight points, the Nets went up by 14 early against the defending champions, and held an 80-74 lead going into the fourth quarter.

“There was a lot that we learned,” said Vaughn. “I think overall, the adjustments that we made from Game 1 to Game 2, whether it was how we got back in transition defense, I think overall our pick and roll coverage we settled on not giving up the (Fred) VanVleet threes that he had in Game 1, so accomplished that part. I think rebounding we took care of that part by outrebounding them. The assists, we were still able to share the basketball. We got good looks in transition ourselves. I think if there was one thing that we could have cleaned up was the turnovers. And so that allowed them to get some easy baskets. We clean that part up, there’s a lot of phases of the game, if you look at the eight quarters, you take minus the first quarter of the first game, we’ve put ourselves in a position to be extremely competitive. I’m leaning on that happening again tomorrow afternoon.”

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SHOTS FOR TEMPLE AND TLC

Garrett Temple and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot have combined to take 40 3-pointers over the first two games. In Game 1, Luwawu-Cabarrot made 6-of-9, continuing his hot shooting from the seeding round games, while in Game 2, Temple made 5-of-11 on the way to a career playoff high of 21 points.


“We talked about this a little bit at the beginning of the series that we were going to get looks,” said Vaughn. “You lean on guys’ history of being able to make shots. The looks that we got, I think the guys would appreciate having those again. That’s the challenge for us, to have the basketball, go to the hole, have them take it out and play against our set defense. That definitely gives us a chance to be in the ballgame. So someone else, since Joe won’t be here, will have to make shots.”

The Raptors allowed 38.9 3-pointers per game during the regular season, the second-most in the league, yet they held teams to the lowest percentage, 33.7.

“They give up the second-most 3s in the league behind Milwaukee,” said Temple. “They scramble, so more times than not it may look open when you catch it, but they’re gonna contest it, so you’ve gotta let it go. Without Joe we’re probably gonna get more open ones, but you’ve gotta shoot em with confidence, let ‘em fly. Those are the shots we’re gonna get, we’ve gotta shoot em and make em.”

NEXT MAN UP

The Nets are in a familiar position in having to adapt to losing Joe Harris. Brooklyn has dug deep in using its full roster throughout the year, and the Nets reinvented themselves to resume play in Orlando without Spencer Dinwiddie, Taurean Prince, Wilson Chandler, DeAndre Jordan and Nic Claxton, adding five new players and relying on others for more significant production.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect and appreciation for how our guys have stayed ready and kind of answered every question,” said Vaughn. “So this is an opportunity unforseen for our guys to respond. I think the maturity, I think the character of our guys, I’m looking forward to seeing how they approach this game and the competitive nature that we’ve shown since we’ve been here, leading up to the bubble, all of the above. We’re going to lean on the character of the guys in the locker room and see if that gets it done.”

MORE ASSISTS FOR ALLEN

After posting one assist in Game 1 against Toronto, Jarrett Allen was back in distribution mode with five assists in Game 2. Allen had averaged 4.2 assists in six seeding round games. He also compiled his fifth straight double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds rebounds while playing 41 minutes.

“JA was great tonight and last game as well but he's been great when they're double-teaming Caris, catching in the short roll, catching it and making plays throwing it to the right people,” said Garrett Temple. “You know making the quick plays, he did it a couple of times when they jumped on me and he was able to get Joe Harris and able to get me a few times so he's done a great job of finding guys and when they lay off he's done a great job of getting to the rim and getting a basket himself. He's been really, really great for us, that's why he's playing so many minutes. So hopefully we try and find a little more rest for him so he can have more legs.”

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