Gary Harris has Stand-Out Performance in Game 1
Although the Denver Nuggets struggled to make shots and ultimately fell to the San Antonio Spurs 101-96 in Game 1 of their first-round series, Gary Harris’ performance stood out. Harris really stamped his mark on the game in the fourth quarter, when he scored nine points, including seven-consecutive points for the Nuggets to keep them in the game. Harris’ scoring run was marked by tough-shot making, as he knocked down two midrange jumpers and a 3-pointer.
Harris ultimately finished with 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field, while he also added three rebounds, an assist and a block. Harris didn’t commit a turnover in his 37 minutes of action and provided consistent defense against Spurs’ All-Star DeMar DeRozan.
The performance is encouraging for Harris and the Nuggets, as it builds on the 24-year-old’s impressive close to the regular season. Harris has now scored at least 14 points in each of the past four games and has shot over 45 percent from the field in each game.
“I’m just trying to be aggressive, trying to have my impact on the game,” Harris said. “I was feeling good and was able to make some plays for myself.”
Harris provides a unique blend of physical defense, strong shooting and the ability to put the ball on the floor and attack the basket. In a game in which Denver struggled from beyond the arc, Harris’ ability to navigate the court and get open for shots was crucial for the Nuggets’ offense in the fourth quarter.
"The last three or four games, he's been the Gary Harris of old,” Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said before the playoffs began. “I just sense that this is a guy that wants it.”
As the series resumes on Tuesday, Harris will continue to provide shooting and secondary ball-handling, all while being tasked with slowing down DeRozan on the other end of the floor. Although the Nuggets are still looking to reverse their recent shooting slump, Harris’ play in recent games should give the team confidence moving forward.