Vince Carter had 25 points, but it was Harris making the difference, hitting the go-ahead basket and scoring 18 points in the Nets' 116-114 overtime victory over the struggling Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.
It was a crazy ending to a game that saw the Nets squander a 17-point, third-quarter lead and the Kings seemingly have control, only to see New Jersey continually make clutch baskets to regain the lead.
Trailing by one point following a timeout, Harris inbounded the ball and got it right back. He drove to the basket against Bobby Jackson, then pulled up for a jumper to the right of the foul line, giving New Jersey a 115-114 lead with 12 seconds left.
"It was a basic clear out, no different than we had been running all game long," Harris said. "It was my shot to take."
Jackson's long 3-pointer was an airball in the closing seconds and the Nets secured the rebound. Jarvis Hayes made a free throw with 2.4 seconds left and Brad Miller's heave from halfcourt fell short to give the Nets the victory, their first at Arco Arena since Nov. 30, 1997.
Averaging nearly 26 points in the previous six games, Harris only had two points by halftime. He still wasn't shooting well in the second half, but connected on a 3-pointer to send the game into overtime, then put the Nets ahead for good in the extra session.
"I was trying to find it, but it took me a long time to get it," said Harris, who also had seven assists. "I didn't force it, obviously I was there when we needed it most."
Brook Lopez had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Nets, who were coming off a 120-93 loss Tuesday night to the Lakers. Keyon Dooling had six of his 17 points in overtime and Ryan Anderson scored 13 and had a season-high eight rebounds.
The Nets managed to pull out the win despite the absence of Carter at the end. Moments after tying the game at 110 on a free throw following Miller's technical foul, Carter was carried to the bench and later limped into the locker room with a hamstring cramp after battling Jackson for a loose ball along the sideline. He is expected to play in Saturday's game in Utah.
John Salmons scored a career-high 38 points for Sacramento, which has lost four straight games and has dropped five consecutive at home for the first time since late in the 1997-98 season.
But Salmons missed 4-of-8 free throws late in the game and overtime that could have clinched the victory. The Kings were 27-of-39 overall from the line.
"These kind of losses sting pretty bad," said Kings coach Reggie Theus, whose team lost for the seventh time in eight games. "They boil down to making plays down the stretch and making free throws. Mistakes were made, but down the stretch we missed six free throws."
Miller had 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Beno Udrih had 16 points and 10 assists for the Kings.
After Dooling connected on a 3-pointer to tie the game at 113 with 37.5 seconds left, Miller was fouled on a drive to the basket and made one of two free throws, giving the Kings their final lead at 114-113 lead with 19 seconds left.
"You learn a lesson in games like these, both good and bad," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "To have a special year you have to win more of these. It's a delicate balance between winning and losing."
Harris made a driving layup to cut the Kings' lead to three points with 17 seconds left. After Salmons made one of two free throws, Harris connected on a 3-pointer, again shooting over Jackson and tying the game with 7.1 seconds remaining.
"Actually, I didn't think he was going to take it, but I gave him a little cushion so that was on me," Jackson said.
Salmons fumbled the ball underneath the Nets' basket in the closing seconds and never got a shot off, sending the game into overtime.
"This has always been a place where we feel most comfortable, it's kind of like our sanctuary," said Hawes of Arco Arena, where the Kings are 3-5 this season. "But now we have to set that precedent again."
The Kings scored 10 straight points in the fourth quarter to assume the lead. Hawes tied the game with a 3-pointer, Miller followed with another three, and Salmons made a baseline jumper, giving Sacramento a 101-96 lead with 2:18 remaining.
With the Nets ahead by 11 points at the half, Bobby Simmons made a 3-pointer and Yi Jianlian followed with a dunk to push the lead to 17 points early in the third quarter. Yet the Kings responded quickly, narrowing the gap to three points with 4:03 remaining and trailing only 82-77 going into the fourth period.
No Nets player received more pregame media attention than Anderson, who went to high school in the Sacramento area and won a state title at Arco Arena as a senior in 2005. Kings starting forwards Mikki Moore and Jason Thompson combined for zero points and four rebounds in the first half. After two days off, the Nets conclude their four-game road trip with back-to-back games, meeting Utah on Saturday and Phoenix on Sunday.