China 57 – 107 Team USA
Harrison Barnes: 7p / 3r / 0a
Tonight at Oracle Arena, the Golden State Warriors led Team China from wire to wire. Kevin Durant opened with Team USA’s first ten points, including an effortless three off the opening tip, and an overexuberant Warriors crowd ate up every minute of it, only dimly aware their three heroes were 6-of-17 from three, and never quite seeming to notice that it was DeMarcus Cousins and Carmelo Anthony who finally blew the game open.
But how did Harrison Barnes do?
Lowlight: [USA] Barnes Jump Shot: Missed 09:23
[USA] Barnes Jump Shot: Missed 08:54
In response to an increasingly sloppy first half by the Warriors, Barnes finally got to open up the second quarter. And boy was he quick to disappoint, immediately jab-stepping left, driving right, and overshooting a stumbling, running hook by a thousand yards. The play-by-play scorekeeper noted it as a “missed jump shot” out of some misguided combination of ethical care, wounded patriotism, and theory-laden confusion, producing a harsh jumble of words so conceptually pre-situated, one could feel it straining to resurrect the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. And I hope neither of you enjoyed that strained “joke.”
The very next play, Harrison rushed a wide-open corner three that caromed in and out. He yelped in frustration, but his nosediving play thus far had screamed for a swift benching like a Stuka bomber. How would I ever continue growing my popular new blog feature without a single Harrison Barnes highlight??????????
All the while, the commentators would not stop marveling over how many Warriors jerseys Kevin Durant would sell (seven thousand so far!), and how many Warriors games he might win (seven million!!)
By the time the broadcasting crew acknowledged that Barnes had checked in, he had already missed two shots so convincingly, using 100% of Team USA’s offensive usage, that he looked like Homer Simpson standing knee-deep in the waste of an imploding nuclear reactor, twin marionette arms hanging lazily by his sides.
Highlight: [USA 33-17] Barnes Cutting Dunk Shot: Made (2 PTS) Assist: Durant (1 AST) 06:57
Following Barnes’ slow start, both teams looked increasingly rushed and sloppy. In particular, the score seemed to hang heavy on American shoulders, crushed by the unmovable weight of Warrior fans’ expectations. For an eternity they led 31-17, as dawn turned to dusk, as civilizations rose and fell from the grave in turn, as the announcers dimly tried to explain that the United States had too many ball-handlers to even make a play.
When Cousins and Durant checked back in on a dead-ball, I couldn’t believe Barnes was allowed to stay. And as two superpowers continued to exchange turnovers, fouls, and international debts, a single voice from the upper bowl spilled into a thousand throats, willing together to make America Great Again.
So this is how democracy dies. As I adjusted my television set, the ball swung from Kyrie, to the popping Durant, to the cutting Barnes, who floated slowly upwards for a completely open dunk.
The crowd erupted into applause — and the cries for Golden State, those manic shouts from the halls of death, were immediately snuffed out. In an instant, I felt some misplaced emotion. Was it paternal pride? Patriotic identification?? Sheer relief that I could guiltlessly visit with old friends??? What a dizzying moment. I was almost happy to be an American, and to have watched Harrison Barnes.
And that’s when I finally knew everything was going to be alright.
Harrison Barnes looks to dismantle Team Venezuela this Friday at 8 pm central.