The newest version of the Golden State Warriors‘ small-ball lineup is making waves through the first two games of the playoffs, but Charles Barkley isn’t sold on it.
In each of the first two wins against the Denver Nuggets, the Warriors closed out the first half with what has been dubbed the new “death lineup” — Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Jordan Poole, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins. The smaller lineup is reminiscent of the ones that the team regularly rolled out during the five-year run to the NBA Finals, and has been nearly impossible for the Nuggets to stop this year.
While it may be working against the Warriors’ first-round opponent, Barkley warns that it could be a liability in the later rounds.
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Barkley Warns of Dangers Ahead
Speaking during halftime of Monday’s blowout win over the Nuggets, just minutes after the “death lineup” went on a 22-8 run over the end of the second quarter, Barkley called out Nuggets center Nikola Jokic for not feasting on the much smaller defenders. He also predicted that some of the league’s best big men, who could await the Warriors if they continue to advance through the playoffs, would give the lineup even more trouble.
“The Joker has to take advantage of playing against a six-foot-six guy. You can’t tell me you’re the MVP and they got Draymond guarding you,” Barkley said, adding, “y’all put that little death lineup out there, put it out there against Giannis and Joel Embiid and see what happens. They’ll kill ’em.”
The lineup was missing during the regular season, as Green, Thompson and Curry rarely took the court together as they all suffered injuries at various points. As Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports noted, Warriors coach Steve Kerr put them together for five minutes in Game 1, leading to a plus-127.3 net rating.