Even if the Nets manage to extend their season by winning today, they don’t know when Joe Harris might return to Orlando, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Harris left the Disney World complex after Game 2 because of a family emergency. Teammates said he knew about the situation ahead of time, but still played on Wednesday.
“We haven’t even assessed that yet,” coach Jacque Vaughn said about whether Harris might rejoin the team. “My conversations with him were just checking on him to make sure that he was good and to let him know that we’re here for him when needed. I think the biggest task right now is for us to extend the series, and so to get a win and see what happens afterwards. It’s the ultimate compliment to him that he was concerned about the guys and the game, and so encouraging of the group. So while we were checking on him he was checking on us.”
There’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Celtics forward Gordon Hayward, who is sidelined with a Grade III sprain of his right ankle, has left Orlando and will return when he is closer to being ready to play, according to a tweet from the team. Hayward suffered the injury Monday and was projected to miss about four weeks.
- Nick Nurse’s reaction to the loss of Kawhi Leonard last summer laid the groundwork for his Coach of the Year honor, writes Josh Lewenberg of TSN. Nurse didn’t panic when Leonard announced he was headed to the Clippers in free agency, breaking up a team that had just won the NBA title. Instead, he started looking for solutions to keep the team in the championship chase without its best player. “When you see Nick on the sidelines, that’s who he is as a person – relaxed but so hard working, creative and dynamic, always setting the tone for our team (by) attacking our next championship, rather than defending our last,” said team president Masai Ujiri. “That is who Nick is, that is why we believe in him. His journey to this tremendous honor has been a long one – we are so happy to see him recognized this way.”
- Jazz coach Quin Snyder said assistant Johnnie Bryant will be a valuable addition to Tom Thibodeau’s staff with in New York, states Marc Berman of The New York Post. The Knicks are expected to officially announce the move soon, but Bryant will continue to coach alongside Snyder as long as Utah’s playoff run continues. “He’s been someone who’s been with me since I got to Utah,” Snyder said. “Tactically, he’s learned (a lot) in the game and on the bench. He’s great on the court with players and you see him develop guys. It’s something we take pride in with our program. Johnnie’s been a big part of that.’’