Gary Harris’ top five moments as a Denver Nugget

by Eric Spyropoulos
Staff Writer
@EricSpyrosNBA

As the Denver Nuggets have gone through a transitional phase over the past five years or so, there has been plenty of roster turnover. Past team leaders such as Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari have paved the way for the team’s new core to lead Denver to success.

One of those members of that young core is Gary Harris, who is actually the longest-tenured player on the Nuggets roster. Harris entered the league in the 2014-15 season and has made his mark on the Nuggets and the Mile High City over the past six seasons.

In honor of #GaryHarrisDay, we’re looking back at Harris’ top moments as a Nugget.

5) Poster dunk in first NBA regular-season game (Nov. 14, 2014)

After missing the first seven games of the 2014-15 season due to injury, Harris fittingly made his NBA debut in a road game against the Indiana Pacers, which was just a short drive away from his hometown of Fishers, Indiana.

Not only did Harris drop 13 points in his first regular-season game (which would go on to be his season-high), he also put the league on notice with a poster dunk early in the fourth quarter, finishing over contact and securing the and-one. The dunk would serve as a warning for the league as Harris has continued to rack up poster dunks each season of his NBA career.

4) Insane acrobatic layup vs. Trail Blazers (April 29, 2019)

In his first playoff appearance, Harris was a steady presence for the Nuggets, averaging 14.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game on a 56.9 true shooting percentage across the team’s 14 playoff games.

However, in Game 1 against Portland, Harris shocked the Pepsi Center crowd with one of the most ridiculous layups the league has seen in some time. After cutting baseline, Harris caught the pass from Nikola Jokić and was immediately met by Zach Collins at the rim. That’s when Harris when for the reverse layup under the basket, putting just enough spin on the ball to have it hit the side of the backboard and go in.

With it being a seven-point game late in the third quarter, this layup gave the Nuggets momentum to close out the first game of the series at home.

3) Go-ahead 3-pointer vs. Portland (Nov. 30, 2018)

As the Nuggets were looking to establish themselves as true Western Conference contenders in the 2018-19 season, Harris helped Denver steal a statement victory on the road against a division rival.

With the game tied at 110 with a little over 20 seconds remaining, the Nuggets looked to execute a pick-and-roll between Jamal Murray and Jokić. However, after the defense focused its attention on the Serbian big man, Harris was open in the corner and calmly knocked down a 3-pointer to give Denver a 113-110 lead with 16.5 seconds remaining.

Harris finished with 27 points on the night to lead Denver to the big win over the Trail Blazers.

2) Scoring a career-high 36 points – twice

Although Harris isn’t known for his elite scoring abilities, he has certainly showcased the ability to take over a game from time to time with his shooting and finishing ability around the rim. During his breakout 2017-18 campaign, Harris dropped a career-high 36 points on two separate occasions.

The first came on Dec. 13, 2017 when Harris scored 36 points on 16-of-25 shooting against the Boston Celtics on the road. It didn’t take long for the then-23-year-old to recreate that scoring display, as he dropped 36 points on the Phoenix Suns less than a month later on Jan. 3, 2018.

Although Harris has only scored over 30 points three times in his NBA career, Harris has shown his ability to fit into Denver’s offense with a combination of 3-point shooting and effective cutting and driving to the basket.

1) Game-winner vs. Oklahoma City (Feb. 1, 2018)

In one of the most memorable games of the 2017-18 NBA regular season, it was only fitting that Harris would secure the victory for Denver with an unforgettable 3-pointer at the buzzer. In front of a national TV audience on TNT, the Nuggets and Thunder battled back and forth until the final seconds.

After Paul George tied the game at 124 with 1.4 seconds left, the Nuggets had one final chance to steal the win at Pepsi Center. Nikola Jokić used all 4.9 available seconds to get the ball inbounded, as he threw a cross-court pass to Harris, who was standing on the opposite wing for the catch-and-shoot opportunity.

Despite an intense closeout from Russell Westbrook, Harris wasn’t fazed, as he calmly knocked down the 3-pointer, sending the Pepsi Center crowd into a frenzy as he ran off the court to celebrate the walk-off victory.

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