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Jazz: Harris delivers in Utah debut

Published February 26, 2011 12:09 am

Jazz • Pressed into service, Harris is crispin his Utah debut.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Indianapolis • Devin Harris wore the uniform like he had been in it for years.

No nerves. No false movements. No hesitation.

All pro.

And he was exceptionally smooth Friday night during his first game with the Jazz, scoring 14 points, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out five assists, as a recharged Utah squad powered past the Indiana Pacers, 95-84.

Harris began the game on the bench, soaking up the scene and sitting between Jazz assistant coaches Scott Layden and Jeff Hornacek. He entered the contest with 3 minutes, 39 seconds left in the first quarter. He scored his first Utah basket just nine seconds later on a driving layup. Then there was no looking back.

By the time the second half rolled around, Harris felt like he belonged. He pushed his teammates and the tempo. He made consistent eye contact with head coach Tyrone Corbin, often holding up fingers to signify understanding as soon as plays were called from the sideline. And he began to burn on the court, starting with between-the-legs crossover dribbles and finishing with sweet stop-and-pop moves that had more in common with old-school, classic NBA point guards than his predecessor, Deron Williams.

"At the end of the day, it's just basketball," Harris said. "I just tried to get to the right spot as much as I could. Put guys in the right position. And at the end of the day, this is the place where the pick-and-roll became famous."

Harris liked his new place. After winning just 29 games with New Jersey during the past two seasons, he liked the victory even more.

Utah looked quicker, more energized and more focused with Harris on the floor. He zoned in with Jazz big men Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson. He drew praise from point guard/connoisseurs Earl Watson and Ronnie Price. And as Harris played all 12 minutes during the final period — scoring six points, finding open teammates and collecting two boards — he put Williams a little further in Utah's past.

Watson said Harris does everything the Jazz do well. Price said even more.

"It's something that the fans can see and know that everything is going to be all right," Price said.

bsmith@sltrib.com

First impressions

Devin Harris' and Derrick Favors' stats from their first game with the Jazz:

Min FGs Pts Reb Ast TO

Harris 28:35 6-14 14 7 5 5

Favors 15:14 3-3 6 3 0 0 —

Jazz at Pistons

P At Palace of Auburn Hills

Tipoff • 5:30 p.m.

TV • FSN Utah

Radio • 1320 AM, 1600 AM, 98.7 FM

Records • Jazz 32-27, Pistons 21-39

Last meeting • Jazz, 102-97 (Jan. 3)

About the Jazz • Utah did not hit a 3-pointer and only took six attempts Friday during a road win against Indiana. … Al Jefferson has scored at least 30 points in three of his last four games.

About the Pistons • Detroit fell to Philadelphia 110-94 Friday after several key players skipped shootaround in a reported protest of coach John Kuester.