Dallas Mavericks

Devin Harris’ play drawing high praise, more minutes

While recognition has been passed around to a lot of the Dallas Mavericks’ in regards to the team’s recent success, one player who deserves some of the accolades is guard Devin Harris.

At least that’s what owner Mark Cuban is saying.

Harris is the player the Mavericks count on to play both backcourt positions, to be a terrific perimeter defense, to shoot long-range jumpers, drive to the hole, drop off a lob pass and run the offense.

“Devin’s probably played his best basketball since he’s come back over the last two weeks, pre- and post-All-Star game,’’ Cuban said. “He goes hard, he goes until he’s exhausted, he pushes the ball, he attacks the basket.

“He our guy who can throw a lob, so he and (new center) Nerlens (Noel) are developing some chemistry, so I expect to see more of that.”

Harris averages only 6.1 points and two assists in 16.7 minutes per game.

“I’m just going out there and trying to be impactful,” Harris said. “I know I’m not going to play 20-25 minutes.

“So whether it be 13, whether it be 18, just go out there and try to be impactful. Try to sweat a game as much as I can when I’m out there and just be aggressive.”

That aggressive mentality by Harris helps earn him more minutes. Especially with coach Rick Carlisle noting that guard J. J. Barea (calf) won’t be able to play again until the March 10 game against Brooklyn.

“He’s a warrior, he’s a soldier for us,’’ Carlisle said of Harris. “I like having (rookie free agent Quinn) Cook on the roster right now with Barea not ready to play yet so alleviate some of the big minutes form Devin.

“It keeps him fresher, and we need him to be available all the time for us to be as good as we can be. He’s one of our most important players.’’

Harris turned 34 this past Monday, but his effectiveness hasn’t been slowed with age.

“I really don’t think the birthday boy has gotten enough credit for just the impact that he’s had,’’ Cuban said. “When Rick needs somebody at the end of the game that’s contested and also is a good defender, he’ll defend multiple positions.

“Devin’s really had an impact on us.”

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