The Warriors haven't struggled without Harrison Barnes, but they haven't been able to truly replace his production.
Since he injured his ankle in late November, the Warriors didn't have consistent bench production or the ability to use the Small Ball Death Squad they kill teams with late in games. With his return tonight, the Warriors finally looked like their old selves again: their bench lineups outplayed the Hornets, and the rotations were crisp. The Warriors dominated most of the way through, winning 111-101.
No Warrior played badly tonight. Draymond Green led the way with his third consecutive triple-double, only the 2nd Warrior ever to accomplish such a feat. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson quietly scored 30 each, and the formerly terrible Marreese Speights put in a season-high 15. With Festus Ezeli (he was active today but didn't play) Leandro Barbosa, and James Michael McAdoo coming back soon, and Kevon Looney to play for the NBA Warriors in a few weeks (after a short stint with the Santa Cruz Warriors, according to Kirk Lacob), the Warriors are approaching peak #FullSquad.
Harrison Barnes returns from a 16-game absence due to a sprained left ankle, his first game since Nov. 27— GSWStats (@gswstats) January 5, 2016
Mo is +10 in three minutes. God Bless America.— Jordan Ramirez (@JRAM_91) January 5, 2016
Make that THREE-STRAIGHT TRIPLE-DOUBLES for Draymond Green #NBAVote pic.twitter.com/BTDy4ymUlJ— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) January 5, 2016
Best the Warriors have looked in awhile. Barnes gives them so much flexibility— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) January 5, 2016
.@StephenCurry30 videobombed a familiar face before @Hornets vs @Warriors, and it was amazing. https://t.co/7burEOfTaz— FOX Sports: Hoops (@HoopsonFOX) January 5, 2016
Reason number 5,421,367 why #Warriors fans are the best in the business: this welcome for @hbarnes. #DubNation pic.twitter.com/0t4Bo7cWl3— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) January 5, 2016
Harrison Barnes, Mama! https://t.co/Snr7uLc1Tx— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) January 5, 2016
Draymond. Wow. Bogut, nice touch. https://t.co/pofAmWzLRD— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) January 5, 2016
gotta be hungry steph pic.twitter.com/UzRiZu2Xbm— Julie Phayer (@juliephayer) January 5, 2016
- One positive to take away from a Barnes-less December is the emergence of Ian Clark and Brandon Rush. Their shooting and defensive effort will be great additions to the pre-Barnes-injury rotations.
- Are Mo's problems fixed with just more minutes at the center position?
- What are the odds for another Draymond Green triple-double at the Lakers game tomorrow?
- Let's keep our fingers crossed that we're finally over this bout of the injury bug.