Tobias Harris: ‘No excuses' for personal skid, will ‘dig my way out'

Tobias Harris: ‘No excuses' for personal skid, will ‘dig my way out' originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

BOSTON — Tobias Harris has had many better nights.

The veteran forward’s Tuesday evening at TD Garden was woeful. And after the Sixers’ loss to the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics, it’s self-evident that his recent play has been concerningly subpar.

Harris scored 13 points on 5-for-19 shooting. In a game where Mo Bamba was the Sixers’ leading rebounder with six boards off the bench, Harris grabbed a mere two. He dished out zero assists.

“I’ve just got to stick with It,” Harris said. “It’s just a bad shooting night, bad stretch for me as a player. But at the end of the day, I’ve still got to take those looks, be confident. Stick to your work and stick to everything that’s gotten you up to this point. It’s frustrating ... but I’m going to battle, get through it and figure out ways to be better watching film. Find ways to get into a rhythm.

“But at the end of the day, I’ll take all those same shots again, those same looks. Just got to make ‘em, that’s what it comes down to.”

Because Harris made essentially zero positive non-scoring contributions, the in-and-out jumpers and empty layup attempts all hurt more.

“Listen, he certainly had some opportunities tonight,” Sixers head coach Nick Nurse said. “He had some catch-and-shoot threes. He had some decent looks at drives. I thought he had some tough drives too that were pretty well-guarded. But it’s so much more … you know me, I’m always saying you can have a 2-for-12 night and still play well.

“We need some more rebounding. We need a little bit more ball movement, I think — out of a number of those guys in the starting lineup, not just him. You can’t force it. I know you want to be aggressive but if things aren’t there, you’ve got to move it on to the next man.”

Buddy Hield (2 for 8 from the floor) and Kelly Oubre Jr. (1 for 6) are surely the other starters Nurse alluded to. Neither was good Sunday vs. the Bucks either. No surprise the Sixers fell in both games and now have a 4-8 record since Joel Embiid suffered his left lateral meniscus injury against the Warriors.

Robert Covington has been out with a left knee injury, too. KJ Martin sat for the last two games because of a right ankle impingement.

Meanwhile, Harris has played in each of the Sixers' four contests since the All-Star break following a two-game absence with a left hip injury. As far as scoring efficiency, his top performance was a 15-point night on 6-for-14 shooting in the Sixers’ victory over the Cavs. He’s gone 11 for 39 otherwise.

Where is Harris at physically?

“I don’t make any excuses,” he said. “If I’m out there playing, then I’m ready to go and I’m able to bring my best for the team.”

Harris’ default mode has long been constant availability.

He’s known to suit up despite soreness, discomfort and worse. For instance, the 31-year-old played through “irritating pain” in his right shoulder for months during the 2021-22 season.

Ultimately, everyone can see he’s not been providing his best for the Sixers.

“I’ve been a really good, efficient player my whole career,” Harris said, “and I’ll figure out ways to battle through this and dig my way out the other side of it.

“So I’m not worried. I am frustrated but at the end of the day, I’ll figure it out.”