SALT LAKE CITY — Although it came in a losing effort, Devin Harris made a solid return for the Jazz on Thursday night.
Harris shook off some early rust and scored 26 points and had five assists in Utah's 98-87 loss to Portland. He made five 3-pointers and said the injured right hamstring that cost him seven straight games felt fine.
"He looked good, especially for his first game back," said Jazz forward C.J. Miles. "His jump shot looked good, made some 3s. He pushed the ball, got to the basket, mixed it up pretty well. I thought he looked good."
Harris' five 3-pointers tied a career high and his 26 points were the most he's had in a Jazz uniform.
No one would have blamed Harris if he would have sat out Utah's final four games of the season with an ailing hamstring, but he thought it was important to get back on the floor with his relatively new teammates.
"I haven't been here that long," Harris said. "I think every game is important, especially for the guys that we have and the nucleus that we're trying to build on. I think it's important to get as many games as we can to really look at what we need to work on and how to come back better for next year."
Harris had some hits and misses in his first quarter back. He missed his first three shots and threw a pass toward Paul Millsap on the baseline that ended up in the sixth row.
But he also made a sweet, long-range alley-oop pass on a Miles dunk for the Jazz's first basket, and got his shot going by driving to the hoop and making layups. He looked to get his teammates involved before looking for his own shot later in the game.
By the time the third quarter came around, Harris was in a groove. He shot 5-for-5 in the third with four of the baskets being 3-pointers. In a 90-second sequence, he hit three 3-pointers, the last of which got Utah within striking distance of Portland at 68-62.
Harris wasn't pleased with the seven turnovers he committed against the Trail Blazers. Portland, as a team, only had 10.
"He played well," Corbin said of Harris. "He turned the ball over a few times, but I thought his energy was good. He made some shots for us. That was refreshing to see."
Although the Jazz are out of the playoff race, Corbin wanted Harris back playing to get a better idea of how he fits with his team. He wants to see, among other things, how Harris runs the pick-and-roll with Millsap and Al Jefferson.
"It gives us another chance to give him more time on the floor so we can see in game situations what kind of player he's going to be for us," Corbin said prior to Thursday's game. "For me (it's a chance), to get a better feel for who he is, and for his teammates to get a better feel for how he plays. It will give us a better indication of what kind of stuff we can run with him in order to be successful."
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