It’s only been two years since Harrison Barnes was the third-leading scorer and wide-eyed teetotaler flourishing in the Golden State Warriors lineup. In case you’ve forgotten, there was a time when some argued Barenes’ upside and existing chemistry was a more sure bet than gutting the bench to sign Kevin Durant. A putrid shooting performance in the NBA Finals paved his exit, but in the conference finals he averaged fewer than nine points a game and created Durant’s opening.
These days, Barnes is languishing as the tanking Dallas Mavericks’ leading scorer. However, on The Uninterrupted, Barnes discussed his more prosperous days in the Bay Area.
“I mean they were rollin’, and we just didn’t have an answer for them, if Klay doesn’t have that crazy game, they are winning the finals, I mean the way they were built they were doing it all,” Barnes said.
The crazy Klay game, Barnes refers to is Klay Thompson’s 41-point masterpiece against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals. The Thunder’s length had been bothering the Warriors all series and it appeared the trend could continue in the final quarter of Game 6 until Thompson went super-saiyan.
Thompson’s 41 points came off of a series of high-degree of difficulty shots and included 10 3-pointers, but was even more remarkable because it occurred in a road elimination game with the weight of expectations from a 73-win season weighing down on them.
“If we win [the Finals],” Harrison Barnes said after the Warriors’ comeback win forced a Game 7, ” [Game 6] will be the game we remember. That will be the best game of any of our lives.”
The Warriors staved off elimination, pushed the Westbook-Durant partnership to the brink and would eventually advance to the NBA Finals. Most importantly, it altered the course of Barnes’ career. If the Thunder advance to the Finals, there was even more of an incentive for Durant to re-up for at least another year. With Durant out of the mix, Barnes is contending for a title instead of experiencing Dallas’ gloomy masterclass on tanking.
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DJ Dunson is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or find him on Twitter or Facebook.