Venezuela 69 – 113 Team USA
Harrison Barnes: 4p / 2r / 1a
The Venezuelans did a great job of controlling the flow and pace of a tightly-called half-court game, until they finally didn’t, committing back-to-back shot clock violations and eventually (gasp!) even letting the Americans leak out in transition unfouled.
So progress was slow. Team USA was tied after the first. They were up 22 at half. And with 1:04 to go in the game, up 44, Tom Thibodeau was still caught shaking his head in disgust as the Americans inexplicably allowed a difficult fadeaway three by Venezuela to pass through the gaping orifice of the rim, just one more element of a strainingly limitable but fundamentally irrepressible flow of exchange. Does anyone else think Thibs might have a classic psychosexual anal fixation?
Anyway, how did Harrison Barnes do?
Lowlight: [VNZ 42-63] Echenique 2nd Free Throw: Made (14 PTS) Q3-4:00
As always, there were great nominees for this low-light. Was it Barnes missing a dunk? No.
How about shoddy no-man’s-land defense against the pick-and-roll? Nah.
What about missing a pushoff fadeaway, and then missing another putback dunk (to be fair, he got to the line this time)? Meh. These don’t yet approach the nadir of being Barnes for a day.
Obviously with a score so tight, Barnes didn’t check in during the first half. But as the Americans began to carve out their advantage, the all-time great broadcasting duo of Marv Albert and Doug Collins got a bit excited. Marv “Hooker” Albert began discussing alleged milkshake bets over on whether Team USA would win by fifty points, and it was clear that he had taken the under. Now here’s Doug Collins weighing in during a Venezuela free throw:
“Yeah, the one thing with Venezuela…how much energy are they gonna have in the fourth quarter, because the United States comes at you, you know, with so many different players. Uh, Harrison Barnes has not played tonight. The rest of the guys have all gotten into the game.”
Cue the instant cut to Barnes, which is now my desktop. Fucking devastating.
Highlight: [USA 101-61] Butler Layup: Made (16 PTS) Assist: Barnes (1 AST) Q4-3:53The United States les by 31 points with 6:47 remaining in the game, and Coach K’s mental math finally indicated that Harrison was unlikely to lose by 5 points/minute. And he was right! In fact, Harrison earned four free throws during that stretch, and knocked all of them down.
But the apogee of being Harrison Barnes for a day was a beautiful, two-handed outlet pass to a streaking Jimmy Butler, who finished hard in transition. It was such a fluid motion, from rebound to toss to the hands of Jimmy, that I couldn’t help but think of Kevin Love.
It’s a good thing Harrison Barnes will be surrounded by other lanky, rim-running athletes in Dallas this year, and that’s why the Mavericks will pay him $951,075 more than K-Love in 2016-17 for his services.
I did like the pass though.
Harry looks to squash Serbia today at 5 pm central.