Joe Harris’ incredible journey took another big step Thursday night in Melbourne as he started and scored five points for Team USA before 51,218 fans in an exhibition game between the Americans and Australians.
Final score in the first of two games in Marvel Stadium: USA 102-86.
Gregg Popovich started Harris alongside Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Donovan Mitchell, Myles Turner, wanting the NBA’s leading 3-point shooter to spread the floor. For the game, Harris played 23 minutes— third highest on the team, shooting 2-of-4 overall, 1-of-2 from three. In addition, Harris had four rebounds, three assists and two steals. He was a +22 for the game. Walker, now of the Celtics, led Team USA with 23 points.
Aussie basketball writer Ben Mallis had this to say about Harris’ performance...
People talk down Joe Harris' place on this Team USA squad but he has been integral into all their good offensive sets so far. The floor spacing he creates (and his movement) is going to be a huge asset for the Americans over the next month.— Ben Mallis (@BenMallis) August 22, 2019
This was the third time in three exhibition games that Harris has logged 19+ minutes. Although he has not officially made the 12-man roster (the team is currently carrying 13), Popovich’s continued confidence in Harris bodes well.
Harris, of course, bears the unlikely distinction of having been traded, cut and had a bone surgically removed from his foot on the same day in January 2016. Six months later, seeking a deadly outside shooter, the Nets signed Harris to a vets minimum deal. Since then, he’s become the NBA’s deadliest outside shooter, hitting a league-leading 47.4 percent of his 3-points last season and winning the NBA 3-Point Shooting Contest at the All-Star Break.
Now, he’s on the verge of representing the United States in the FIBA Worlc Cup in China starting August 31. Thursday’s game will be replayed at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET on NBA TV. Team USA plays Australia again at 12 noon ET Saturday. The team will also play Team Canada on Monday in Sydney.
- Box Score: Team USA 102, Australia 86 - USA Basketball
- USA Men Earn 102-86 Win in First of Two Exhibitions Against Australia - USA Basketball
- Boomers fall short against dominant USA in front of a record crowd - Roy Ward - Melbourne Age
- Walker, Turner lead US over Australia 102-86 - Justin Bergman - AP