So much for the Warriors being in for a world of hurt without David Lee.
The Warriors were able to even their series with the Nuggets at one game apiece with a 131-117 walloping sans their all-star power forward thanks to lights out shooting all game long across the lineup. Oh, and also Harrison Barnes officially declaring to the world he’d no longer like to be a rookie.
The Warriors shot 64 percent from the field, 56 percent from range and also dominated in rebounds, fast-break and second-chance points, giving the Nuggets their first loss at home since Barack Obama was still in his first term as president. The series now shifts back to Oakland, where were the Warriors were 28-13 this season. The Nuggets were 19-22 away from Denver.
Stephen Curry followed up a rocky playoff debut in Game 1 with a much-improved, more Curry-life showing Tuesday night, dropping game-highs of 30 points and 13 dimes. Even when he was off to a second straight unusually bad start shooting (he even airballed a three wide left), Curry was consistently finding open teammates for points as he drew multiple defenders.
Klay Thompson (21 points on 8-of-11 shooting) was the benefactor in a lot of those early Curry double teams and was the entirety of the Golden State offense at onset of the game, scoring the team’s first seven points.
But the story of the game was Barnes. With Lee’s offensive production lost for good, they’ll need others to step up and fill the void until they’re photoshopped into a “Gone Fishing” picture on Inside the NBA. Barnes took that upon himself Wednesday. And what immaculate timing to score a career high. He had 24 on 9-of-14 shooting and 2-of-5 from deep. In his second playoff game as a rookie! He also had a filthy reverse slam on former Warriors never-was Anthony Randolph. Barnes’ teammates will return the favor by putting a potato in his tailpipe or something.
The Nuggets ended the first quarter up two points as both teams essentially traded baskets before the Warriors finally took off in the second. Andre Iguodala paced all players with 12 points in the opening period. He finished the game 18.
The Warriors opted to open the game with a small lineup. Jarrett Jack, whose 26 points were second to only Curry’s, started in place of Lee. It was a last-minute adjustment after the Nuggets decided to not to start Kenneth Faried in his first game back from an ankle sprain. Faried’s return was supposed to be an added spark for Denver, in addition to Lee being sidelined, but he was a nonfactor the entire game.
In the abundant, take-your-pants-off excitement of getting the all-important road win as a lower seed, it’s easy to lose sight on just how out of their minds the Warriors were shooting the basketball. You shouldn’t expect the team to shoot at this clip the entire series. In fact, if Barnes scores 20 points again this series, I’ll be surprised. But that’s something to worry about for another game. Mark Jackson has until Friday to figure out how to build off the dizzying shooting display his team unleashed in Game 2. At least next time he’ll be helped out by a crackin’ Oracle Arena crowd frothing at the mouth with six years of pent-up angst ready to explode.
For now, hot shooting put the Warriors back in this series and swung home court advantage in their favor. That’s all that matters.