LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL – Thanks to a masterful job of holding reigning NBA Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard to 4-19 shooting in a series-tying 110-101 win over the co-NBA Finals favorite Los Angeles Clippers, could Denver Nuggets shooting guard, Gary Harris be their missing x-factor?
Harris, whom missed much of the season due to a hip injury—and was sidelines during the restart down in Orlando, was averaging 17.7 points and 1.8 steals while shooting from 39.9 percent from three-point range, provided a solid boost in his return in helping contain The Klaw—along with some help defense from Jerami Grant.
Thanks to the deadly and smothering duo of Harris and Grant, Leonard scored zero points in the fourth.
While Denver is still without Will Barton, Denver has managed to play through the injuries of both Harris and Barton thanks to the emergence—we tried to tell y’all here last year—of Jamal Murray into one of the top point guard’s down in the bubble not named Donovan Mitchell or Damian Lilliard, Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr.
With Harris back, teams now cannot double-team or play off of Murray, as Harris is just as deadly from long range and an even better defender as witnessed in Game 2.
One other stat that needs to be mentioned is since his return, Denver is 2-1 with Harris back in the lineup. If the Nuggets can continue this type of play and continue their work on both Leonard, then the Nuggets stay in Orlando could be extended a bit longer than they had hoped.