LAS VEGAS — A couple hours before his summer league debut, Warriors rookie forward Harrison Barnes was asked how many points he thought he’d score. Mustering a slick smile, he said he’d “see” if he could get 20.
Try 23. Barnes did what he does best Friday — score — as the Warriors’ summer league squad blew past its Los Angeles Lakers counterpart 91-50. And it didn’t look too hard for the No. 7 overall pick.
“I was talking to coach Mark Jackson, and he was telling me to be aggressive, so I was trying to do the best I can,” Barnes said. “Whatever you do, he said, do it aggressively.”
The Warriors squad, coached by Golden State assistant Pete Myers, dominated the Lakers largely because of a smothering defensive effort. The Lakers shot 27.1 percent and turned it over 19 times in a 40-minute contest.
The Warriors’ swarming defense led to fluid offense. And, believe it or not, Barnes’ productive night was overshadowed by the flashy performance of Warriors’ second-year guard Klay Thompson.
Coming off a week of practicing against Team USA, Thompson dominated with relative ease. In 23 minutes, he scored 24 points on 13 shots to go with six rebounds and five assists. But it was his outside shot that drew cheers from the packed Cox Pavilion on the UNLV campus. Thompson was 6 of 8 from 3-point range, making four in the second half.
“I’m playing next game,” Thompson said. “I would play all five if it was up to me.”
Warriors general manager Bob Myers said he really doesn’t need to see Thompson in summer league. But Thompson said he wants to play to build chemistry with his new teammates. He and Barnes looked like an unguardable duo Friday.
Barnes scored multiple ways against the Lakers. He even attacked the rim, as if to answer his critics who say he doesn’t have that ability.
His first two baskets were contested layups in transition, including one he converted despite being fouled. A few minutes later, on another transition play, he skillfully threw his body into the soaring defender to ensure he’d at least get free throws.
Moments later, Barnes drove from the right wing trying to get to the rim. After being cut off, he pulled up for a contested one-hand floater, deftly dropping it in from about 12-feet.
By the end of the first quarter, he was walking into 3-pointers in transition. Barnes finished 8 of 14 shooting, knocking down all four of his 3-pointers, in 25 minutes.
“Great performance,” Warriors rookie Draymond Green, who had nine points and nine rebounds Wednesday, said of Barnes. “He shot the lights out. He got to the basket. He did some great things. … You know he has a lot of doubters. For him to come out and have that kind of performance, although it’s summer league, its good to have a great start.”