3-point shots: Harris trade bait?

Three extra observations from the Jazz’s 94-91 loss to the defending NBA champions:

POINT 1: C.J. Miles had a stellar showing, but it wasn’t a great night for the other Utah guys with Dallas ties on the Jazz.

Josh Howard, a 2007 All-Star with the Mavs, missed his third straight game with a strained left quadriceps, although he’s able to stretch the muscle more and is feeling good about its improvement.

As for Devin Harris, who resides in the Big D in the offseason and began his career there, this was just another off-night. He went 0-for-7 from the field, scored one point and only dished out two assists.

Jazz fans skewered him on the Internet, especially for the air ball he lofted up from 3-point land that could’ve brought Utah within one with 20.9 seconds remaining.

Following the game, ESPN’s Marc Stein reported on Twitter that Harris’ days might be nearing an end:

Tweet 1: “Been hearing reliable rumblings since trip to Reno for D-League Showcase that Jazz have made it known Devin Harris is available via trade.”

Tweet 2: “Not exactly leaping onto a limb to suggest Harris’ TNT performance against his old friends from Dallas won’t have phones buzzing in the SLC.”

Tweet 3: “Yet I’m told Jazz will keep shopping him and they’ll eventually find taker for Devin. PG is only 28 and has just one year left at $8.5M.”

Harris, a 2009 All-Star with New Jersey, hasn’t appeared to comfortably run Utah’s offense this season. The starting point guard only averages 4.6 assists, second on the team to Earl Watson‘s 4.7 apg. And the backup has played 70 fewer minutes.

Watson has taken a team-first attitude with playing time and his role since joining the Jazz last season, but the team has run more smoothly with him at the helm of the offense. That has some fans clamoring for Watson to be inserted into the starting lineup.

Having a capable veteran playmaker like Jamaal Tinsley on the bench seems to give the Jazz a good option as a No. 2 guy should be Harris be dealt. Tinsley has played sparingly this season after being out of the NBA last year.

POINT 2: It was interesting to see the toughness exude from the Jazz, especially after that take-no-guff attitude was the topic of Thursday’s lead story. (How’s that for some told-you-so chest-pounding?)

Raja Bell had to be held back from going after Lamar Odom after the Jazz-killer steamrolled Utah’s starting shooting guard and then stepped over him in what he deemed an unacceptable fashion.

Watson later smacked the ball out of Dirk Nowitzki‘s hands, returning the favor, so to speak, for the Mav MVP’s similar action to Jazz forward Derrick Favors.

Watson got a technical but also earned more respect for his hey-Texas-don’t-mess-with-Utah attitude.

“He showed good leadership,” said Favors, who was ejected moments later for throwing the ball into the stands out of frustration.

“We’re not going to let anybody push us around,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin added.

The act didn’t help the Jazz win this one, but these kinds of tough-nosed actions will continue to help the team as it builds an identity of toughness and grit.

POINT 3: Miles strung together a consecutive strong game, giving the Jazz 17 points off the bench (after a season-high 19 Tuesday), including two nice steals that led to fast-break points. The slimmed-down 24-year-old also wowed the crowd with the best play I’ve seen him make in his seven NBA seasons:

Categories: General

About the Author

Jody Genessy

Jody Genessy is the Utah Jazz beat writer for the Deseret News. To answer some of your questions: 1) Yes, he travels everywhere the Jazz do. 2) No, he doesn't fly on the team charter. 3) No, he can't sneak you into the game, let you take notes for him or get you tickets (sorry, Mom). 4) Yes, he realizes that other people out there have to work for a living so he's a lucky dude. 5) Yes, he usually answers questions in the third person.

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