Utah Jazz: Devin Harris playing up to potential of late

Published: Friday, April 20 2012 6:00 p.m. MDT

"He's responsible out there. He's going to get the playing time," O'Connor said. "And after a slow start, he's responded."

Harris has responded with eye-popping performances on a few occasions — the 25-point first half with a career-high six treys in Portland; scoring the game-clinching five points in the third overtime of Utah's grueling win over Dallas; hitting at least three 3-pointers in five of the past eight games.

Jazz backup point guard Jamaal Tinsley has noticed that Harris is playing without worrying about looking over his shoulder.

"Just being comfortable, just getting in a rhythm," Tinsley said. "He came in late last year. He just got a better feel on the guys, just being more aggressive and confident."

Corbin believes the transformation started on the defensive end where the Jazz's transition game gets going. Harris, the coach said, has been a tone-setter with his energy on D.

Also, Lowe said it's obvious Harris' confidence and comfort has increased by the way the point guard has been stopping and popping from beyond the arc on fast breaks on occasion a la John Stockton.

"Sometimes it just happens. Guys hit a point where the game just elevates a little bit," Lowe added. "Maybe it's him feeling a little more comfortable with running what we're doing and knowing when to take shots, knowing when not to take the shots or where shots are coming from (his and others).

"The key thing is," Lowe added, "that he's doing it with a lot of confidence. He's comfortable with it."

After Wednesday's clutch 27-point outing, Harris credited his teammates — from Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap doing their work down low to attract attention, Gordon Hayward improving his outside efficiency and even DeMarre Carroll setting some hard screens.

Time has helped, too.

"Just getting to know the system over time, the more time on the floor, the more comfortable I got," Harris said. "There's still a learning curve there, but obviously I'm making some progress."

Likewise, his playoff-pushing team has as well.

"We've got an opportunity," Harris said, "and we've got to take advantage of it."

If they do, Harris will make his first playoff appearance since 2007 with Dallas and Utah will return after a rare year out.

"Last year, we kind of dwindled away to towards the end, the late part of the season," Harris said. "We knew this organization is known for being in the playoffs every year. This is something they hang their hats on. It's just getting back to that level of expectation."

That goes for the team — and the player.

Related article: Replay of the live chat with beat writer Jody Genessy

Email: jody@desnews.com

Twitter: DJJazzyJody

Blog: Jazzland.blogs.deseretnews.com

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