Who knew that plantar fasciitis helps one’s 3-point shooting game?
This wasn’t the night for Nets 3-point sharpshooter Joe Harris to be Robin to Kevin Durant’s Batman. When the Nets needed someone other than KD to bust out big from deep, it became glue-guy center Jeff Green.
As Harris suffered through another horrid outing, Green, in just his second game back after a bout with plantar fasciitis, was a marvelous offensive spark.
Green drained his first seven 3-pointers and drew a key charge on Giannis Antetokounmpo late in the fourth quarter as the Nets rallied from 17 points down to beat the Bucks, 114-108, at Barclays Center to take a 3-2 series lead.
Green had missed six straight playoff games with his heel injury and was rusty in his Sunday return.
Blaming “fatigue,’’ he vowed he’d be better next time, and he certainly was more than that with 27 points. He made 8 of 11 shots and went 7 of 8 from the 3-point stripe. He didn’t miss from beyond the arc until there was 2:30 remaining.
“Jeff Green was unbelievable,’’ Nets coach Steve Nash said. “Incredible performance. For a guy who is coming off an injury, who has been a big part of our team this year, to step up and show that maturity, that veteran presence, that winning mentality, was unbelievable. Kevin’s performance tonight was historic, but Jeff’s the one that kept us in the game for a long, long time.’’
Green’s offensive punch was sorely needed as James Harden made an emergency return but didn’t have any offensive spark, going scoreless in the first half.
“I was just trying to be aggressive,’’ Green said. “Coming off the bench I got to see how the flow of the game was, what was needed, just tried to come in and bring energy, knock down some open shots. We missed a lot of easy shots in the first half, so I just tried to do my part, and Kev found me on a lot of those plays. A lot of eyes are gonna be on him, so I just wanted to be aggressive on my shot and they left me open, so I just shot it with confidence.’’
Not only did Green provide the spark, but center Blake Griffin also heated up in the second half from 3 and finished with 17 points, looking a little bit like his old Clippers days.
But it looked like Green would end the night perfect before his last miss after being 7 of 7 from 3.
“It grew,’’ Green said of his mojo. “I just tried to take the shots that was there. They packed the paint a lot and a lot of eyes are gonna be on Kevin when he’s driving or James is driving so I just wanted to be in their sight to try to get an open look and they left me open.’’
With the Nets shorthanded, minus Kyrie Irving and with a Harden Lite, they also needed more from Harris in Tuesday’s must-have Game 5 to keep their championship dream alive.
Brooklyn needed something resembling a $75 million player to complement Durant, but Harris put forth a clunker yet the Nets still managed their second-half rally. Harris shot just 2 of 11 — 1 of 7 from the 3-point line — to finish with five points. He shot an airball from 3 in the final seconds of the third quarter and barely played in the fourth period.
Big men Green and Griffin, who hit 3 of 6 from beyond the arc, bailed their 3-point marksman out.