PHILADELPHIA — Third-year pro Andrew Harrison has not had a lot of time to make an impression on Cleveland Cavaliers fans, but the minutes he played in Friday’s 121-112 victory against Philadelphia certainly stood out to coach Larry Drew.
Harrison, signed to a two-way contract on Nov. 9 after appearing in one game for Memphis, scored five points and dished out five assists while playing nearly the entire fourth quarter as Cleveland won for just the third time this season.
“He had a terrific fourth quarter,” Drew said of Harrison. “He was good on both ends. He did a really good job getting us into our offense and just making plays. He made the right plays going down the stretch.”
Harrison’s feel for the game was evident as he found Jordan Clarkson for an open 3-pointer with 7:19 left that put the Cavaliers in front by five and moments later fed Tristan Thompson for a hook shot in the paint that increased the lead to seven with 6:53 left.
But Harrison’s biggest moment came with 5:12 left when he used a Thompson screen to drill a 3-pointer of his own and give the Cavaliers a 104-95 advantage, forcing Philly coach Brett Brown to call a timeout.
“They were just backing up off me, I know it was a big moment in the game,” Harrison said. “I enjoy those moments and it’s a shot that I work on with the coaches here. I definitely have confidence pulling up and shooting it.”
Harrison was not the only Cavs point guard making shots on Saturday. Rookie Collin Sexton finished the third quarter with 22 points on 10-for-18 shooting and was poised to set a new career scoring high after a breather in the fourth.
But Harrison’s knack for getting the Cavs into the right spot on offense and playing tough defense put Drew in a tough position.
“I was really scratching my head when I was going to put Collin back in there, but that unit had such a rhythm that I did not want to disrupt it,” Drew said. “I elected to keep (Harrison) in there, but he was really terrific on both ends of the floor.”
For Harrison, who spent parts of three seasons with the Grizzlies including a playoff appearance in 2017, feeling comfortable in a new system should not take long.
“I just try to make the right play and I feel that I can bring a lot to this team,” he said. “I don’t try to worry about points or what anybody else is doing. I just try to play the right way and try to play good defense and just try to take what the defense is giving me. I think the rest of the team feeds off that.”