From Devin Harris’ perspective, in recent years it’s always been about his feet.
If the Dallas Mavericks guard wasn’t getting his great left toe operated on, it was his great right toe that he sprained in the final preseason game at Denver that brought probable cause for concern. But lately, Harris has been able to put both feet comfortably forward because the pain has subsided with him zipping up and down the basketball court.
“They’re better,” Harris said Wednesday. “I’m feeling better, cutting harder, able to change directions and all those things.
17 Points Devin Harris scored in 17 minutes Tuesday against the Wizards
“I’ll continue to get better as we get on through the season.”
Those were comforting words for the Mavericks, who know Harris is one of the NBA’s best reserve guards when healthy. His speed enables him to be a force when he attacks the basket, and he also has a deft shooting stroke.
In addition, Harris is one of the best in the league at drawing charging fouls.
They’re better. I’m feeling better, cutting harder, able to change directions and all those things.
Mavericks guard Devin Harris
During Tuesday’s 113-105 victory over the Washington Wizards, Harris scored a season-high 17 points in only 17 minutes. He also helped supply the lock-down defense that limited Wizards high-scoring guard John Wall to just seven second-half points.
“He gave us a great boost of energy, scoring,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “His defense was very good.
“Really, since the Sacramento game at home [on Dec. 18] he’s been playing very well. His conditioning is getting better, his rhythm is looking good, so I’m very pleased with where he is right now.”
Against the Wizards, Harris converted 6 of 11 shots, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range. But he shrugged the whole night off as a game where he had some “open shots. I made some, missed some.
“I made more than I missed. It’s as simple as that.”
The Mavericks (11-24) hope Harris can make more shots than he misses Thursday at 7:30 p.m. when they play host to the Phoenix Suns (11-25).
His conditioning is getting better, his rhythm is looking good, so I’m very pleased with where he is right now.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle on Devin Harris
“It helps everything on offense,” Carlisle said. “It helps your playmaking, it helps your paint attacks, it helps your shot-making, and he’s a guy that’s a veteran guy that is an attacker that can draw fouls.
“That stuff is kind of the natural stuff you think about, but then defensively in recent games he did a great job guarding Lou Williams one night [against the Los Angeles Lakers. Against the Wizards [on Tuesday] with their guards, it gives us just a different look on a John Wall and a [Bradley] Beal. He’s a big part of our team.”
Harris underwent surgery on his left great toe in May, then missed the first 16 games this season after spraining his great right toe. He also had surgery on his left great toe in 2013.
But Harris eased the minds of Mavericks followers concerned about his two feet when he said of the multiple injuries: “I don’t really think about it anymore.”
Mavericks vs. Wizards
7:30 p.m. Thursday, FSSW