Jevon Carter finally had his moment.
The Nets acquired Carter, an undersized but scrappy two-way guard, in the Landry Shamet trade with the Phoenix Suns over the summer. Up until Wednesday night Carter had been largely outside the rotation.
But on the night when Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Joe Harris were out, Carter finally entered the chat.
The third-year guard had his best game of the season, scoring 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting from downtown. He hadn’t hit a three-pointer since Jan. 7 and was shooting just 28% from downtown entering Wednesday’s matchup against the Nuggets.
“He’s a professional,” Nets forward DeAndre’ Bembry said of his teammate. ”Obviously he’s one of the guys who wasn’t able to get as many minutes as he wanted throughout the season, so he’s been down a little bit on that, but that’s what J.C. does. He shoots threes. Obviously he’s not getting minutes that he wants, but he’s confident.
“We need him to come in and hit those threes for us, and that’s his game. J.C. has always been a good three-point shooter if you watched his game, and him being able to get out there and actually do it works out and helps us.”
Carter hit several timely threes for the Nets, but at first it looked like his game was going to take a sharp left turn. After hitting his first three of the night, a ghost turned on the fan at Barclays Center and turned his second attempt into an airball that veered wide left.
Carter, however, never lost his confidence. He hit three of his next six attempts and hit several shots to keep the Nets within striking distance. Carter’s 13 points were a season-high, and veteran guard Patty Mills characterized his performance as inspirational.
Mills said despite his inconsistent minutes, Carter has remained positive.
“It’s been a tough position for him, but he’s been a great teammate,” Mills said. “He’s been a high-energy, high-positive guy, and he’s a pleasure to have around in the locker room, at practice, and on the bench and in timeouts, always engaged. So for him to come out tonight and knock down some pretty big shots was pleasing.
“I think that’s an important point — the genuine pleasure that you get from seeing him do well after what he’s been going through, I think is something that I definitely feel and I think other guys on the team feel it,” he continued. “It’s important for the whole team for the long run, the big picture stuff, for really being pleased for your teammates, and I think that was a big part of tonight — being able to feed off each other’s energy.”
Steve Nash said he’s hopeful James Harden (left hamstring tightness) is available to play Saturday against the Golden State Warriors.
“I think we’re all hopeful he’ll play next game,” Nash said. “It’s day-to-day, and we’ll see. I think it’s leaning probable. We’re all very hopeful he’ll be ready to go.”
Bembry, who was asked what it would be like to have Harden and Kyrie Irving back for the Warriors game, appeared bearish on Harden’s availability.
“Obviously Kyrie will be back with us and that’ll be helpful,” he said. “Not sure when James is coming back.”
Nash also suggested there was some validity to recent reports that Kevin Durant’s MCL sprain could sideline him until past the All-Star break.
“We’ll, I think, reevaluate that in the next week or so,” he said. “We’ll see how his rehab goes and what the re-evaluations tell us.”