Argentina 74 – 111 Team USA
Harrison Barnes: 4p / 2r / 0a
In today’s nationally broadcasted dose of patriotism, ESPN proudly displays, on continuous loop, the tremendous fourth-quarter shooting of Kevin Durant, fiery enough to shame the Las Vegas sun. Don’t forget the courageous return of a Paul George, grateful for his chance to return from horrific injury! And who could forget the familiar face of Olympic Melo, playing shocking bits of defense, one instant at a time, here corralling a loose ball, there delivering an obvious foul with both forearms?
All the while, the voices of old men react with unsuppressed awe and wholesome surprise. My god, Team USA really has vanquished an Argentinian national team that is collectively 342 years old, with over a century more basketball experience than the United States Constitution!
But how did Harrison Barnes do?
Lowlight: First half DNP, Coach’s Decision.In a first half where every other American player recorded between six and twelve minutes, Harrison’s moment never quite came, mirroring only Carlos Delfino on the Argentinian side. To be sure, NBA wings seem particularly unafraid of the Zika Virus, as a squad with two point guards (Kyrie & Lowry), two real bigs (Cousins & Jordan), and one other huge bitch (Draymond Green), nonetheless features a total of seven wings. In some order, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, and DeMar DeRozan all stand indisputably ahead of our hero in the rotation. And just like that, Barnes, the ideal 3-and-D player, abruptly discovers himself the fourth best defender, and the fifth best shooter at his position. One can only surmise his vertiginous panic, the utter collapse of his own self-concept into nothingness.
But someone has to quietly take the fall for his country, and if that man is earning 0.75 cents per second over the next fours years, so much the better. Barnes carries tremendous strategic value as a stashed weapon of second-half misdirection, suddenly emerging from the shadows of Team USA huddles to play far worse than the enemies of America ever could have expected. While I was eating, I think he shot an airball; hours later, he doesn’t even appear in Team USA’s box score. What a selfless American hero.
Following Freud, I will also keep an eye on his developing castration anxiety.
Highlight: Harrison Barnes checks into the game, spreads the floor.
Coming out of halftime, coach’s decision finally changed — to starting Barnes! And eight seconds in, Harrison was dramatically crucified on a screen, allowing Ginobili an easy left-handed layup as the commentators apologized for him. “Manu is so good at going left!” they gasped, awestruck in the wake of a left-handed 39-year-old man.
But Harrison never plays for himself. He seeketh not his own glory.
After three and a half quarters of playing even fucking worse, Klay Thompson finally hit the bench for good. Team USA turned to its unlikely hero in Harrison Barnes, who helped the team claw out a 37-point decision on the back of Kevin’s supermundane shooting.
And who was there in the left corner, time and time again, to create space for Durant? Who spread the floor from the short corner three, hands limply at his side, as though to say, this isn’t my moment?? You should shoot again Kevin; don’t pass it here????
That’s our very own #8, facilitating à la his childhood idol, Kobe Bryant.
Harrison Barnes takes on China this Sunday at 7pm central.