Jazz point guard Devin Harris is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2007, when his Dallas Mavericks were upset by Golden State in the first round.
Harris and teammate Al Jefferson, who hasn’t seen a playoff game since 2005 when he was a rookie with the Boston Celtics, are thrilled to be back in the postseason. The Jazz clinched a berth in the Western Conference bracket by beating Phoenix on Tuesday. Now they’re looking ahead to Thrusday’s regular-season finale against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Before Wednesday’s practice session, Harris likened the Jazz’s team chemistry this season to that of the Mavericks in 2006 when they advanced to the NBA finals before losing to the Miami Heat.
While not comparing Utah’s talent to Dallas’ in ’06, Harris said the bond among teammates is similar.
“It’s a similar type locker room,” he said. “Very loose. Guys got along well, respected one another (and) held each other accountable. This locker room reminds me a lot of what we had in Dallas.”
The Jazz are in the postseason once again after missing it last year, and the feeling of elation following Tuesday’s win morphed into one of concentration on Wednesday.
“They’ve seen the last two weeks how play changes (in critical games),” coach Tyrone Corbin said. “The tempo is changed, the significance of every possession is different, the way the referees call the game … the intensity of every play. And now it goes up another level.”