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Explain One Play: Matt Barnes Bombs the Bucks

We look at two Matt Barnes threes and an assist from the game-exploding run in the second quarter in the Bucks-Warriors game on March 18, 2017.

NBA: Orlando Magic at Golden State Warriors
We (still) Believe!
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Here is a great scouting report from Steve Kerr on Matt Barnes on CSN:

Matt is a good shooter, not a great shooter, but he’s a guy you have to honor out there when you’re defending him. But he doesn’t have to make shots to be effective. He does everything well. He’s such a good defender. He’s so smart, he’s already picked up our offense like that. He guards multiple positions. He’s kind of a jack-of-all-trades. He keeps us going with our pace. He pushes the ball. He can play the power forward spot so that we can kind of spread you out and play small and defend. So he’s been a tremendous addition and we’re really lucky to have him.

He is tenacious and strong on defense and competent in the offense, though he still gets surprised by passes from Stephen Curry and is still sometimes in the wrong places.

During his minutes tonight, he helped to defend against Giannis Antetokounmpo and helped blow the game open during his second quarter run by hitting two open threes when the Bucks left him alone to guard Splash Brothers.

Q2.4:52. GSW 42, MIL 38.

This play actually starts with the Bucks shooting an open three to draw within 1. But it misses and Barnes throws a touchdown that, unlike several tries in past games, connects with Draymond Green.

Barnes showed your basic hustle there, not giving up on the play. If he hadn’t been there, it would have been a Giannis putback dunk. Instead it’s a big five point swing.

Q2.3:44. GSW 46, MIL 40

This is the most common play run for Klay Thompson: Barnes will set a screen pindown Thompson’s defender as he curls around the screen. You can see some discussion of the Klay Curl at Explain One Klay: 60 points in 29 minutes and Explain One Play: Klay curls a go-ahead three.

It’s part of the foundation for the Warriors offense and watch how the Bucks ignore Barnes to defend Thompson.

Two Bucks run to Thompson, so he dishes off to the wide-open Barnes. Barnes HAS to hit some of those open threes to stay on the court, otherwise teams will have an extra defender to run against the other players.

Q2.2.46. GSW 49, MIL 40.

In this play, Stephen Curry shows some impressive acceleration to turn the corner on his defender, which forces another Buck to leave Barnes to stop Curry.

Barnes is left completely alone as three Bucks surround Curry. Curry makes the fine pass and Barnes hits the Harrison Barnes Memorial Corner Three. Again, Barnes HAS to hit this shot or the defense will leave him to load up on the others.

Tonight, he hit the shots and that led to a blowout. I liked how decisive he was about shooting both these threes.

Final Thoughts

Barnes also looked good in the Small Ball Badness Lineups. He’s played the 4 and not, to my memory, been cooked by anyone. If he can hit the threes or at least cut to the basket when alone, that will keep the flow going in Small Ball making it a playable lineup without Kevin Durant.

If you want to read more video breakdowns — one for well-nigh every Warriors’ win since 2015 — check out the Explain One Play Mega-Index, searchable and sortable by player, play, team and date.

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