A good photo illustrating how the Warriors are compensating for Bogut’s absence in the paint — swarming, switching, double-teaming and just laying out the effort.
It took Harrison Barnes getting clobbered under the basket early in the game to realize, `Hey, he’s not wearing that god-awful mask tonight.” We can only guess-timate how much it has affected his play since he’s had to wear it, but what he brought Monday night against Oklahoma City was a clear sign of good riddance.
Barnes led the Warriors with 23 points, hit all five of his 3-point attempts, and was one of the rotating defenders on Kevin Durant on a night when he shot 3 for 16, playing him tough and tight — particularly early, when the Warriors raced out to a 17-6 lead.
So what happened to the mask? Barnes was wearing it Sunday during practice, but as he explained, he got into a post-practice shooting contest with Leandro Barbosa, Justin Holiday and Andre Iguodola and was in fourth place among the four. “I just took it off and sort of threw it, and it never came back.”
And so how did it feel Monday night to be facially unencumbered?
“It felt great,” Barnes said with his typical tight grin. “I’m definitely not a big fan of the mask.”
Going mask-less couldn’t have come at a better time, considering Barnes generally plays so well against Oklahoma City. And this was one of his best two-way efforts against the Thunder, just another sign of his maturation as a third-year player.
“Harrison’s a very good shooter,” said coach Steve Kerr. “I think the thing with him is rhythm and confidence. He’s still very young. The last couple of weeks he hasn’t scored and shot as well as he has all season and I think a big part of that was the mask and the comfort level wasn’t there.
“He understands, too, that’s important that Kevin Durant has to guard us, too,” Kerr added. “We have to deal with Durant, so we have to make sure Kevin has to expend some energy guarding Harrison. Harrison was really aggressive tonight, and obviously, making all five 3′s was huge.”
Good thing, too, when such a good-looking guy ditches the Phantom of the Opera look.