The Golden State Warriors dodged a proverbial bullet on Sunday, escaping Game 4 of their first-round series against the Sacramento Kings with a 126-125 win. Had a buzzer-beating attempt from ex-Warrior Harrison Barnes sailed an inch or so in another direction, though, they’d currently be facing elimination.
In the wake of the victory, Warriors star Klay Thompson made a point to shout out a pair of teammates for forcing the ball out of clutch hero De’Aaron Fox’s hands and into those of Barnes during the final possession.
“I’m really proud of Draymond [Green] and Steph [Curry’s] defense at the top of the key,” Thompson said. “I mean HB got a great look but that’s not an easy shot. So, I’m just happy that… I mean, those two guys made a great play.”
Barnes is no slouch, of course, having logged an effective field-goal percentage of 55.6 during the regular season. So, Thompson still felt the butterflies when the veteran fired away.
“Oh man, I was nervous. I’m really happy Harrison missed it. Still my guy but I was hoping you missed it really badly and sometimes you need a break like that at this point of the year,” Thompson added. “It was just a gutsy win and a big, big defensive stop.”
Warriors’ Klay Thompson Isn’t Sweating Stephen Curry’s Timeout Blunder
Barnes would not have been in a position for a potential game-winning attempt if not for Curry’s Chris Webber moment with 42 ticks left on the game clock. After Steph’s timeout that wasn’t, though, a Malik Monk free throw and a Fox three had cut the Dubs lead down to one.
When asked about the crazy stretch to end the contest, however, Thompson was focused on the fact that his team had the lead and the ball during the game’s waning seconds.
“It was stressful at times but you go back to the bench when we’re up one and, I mean, Steph got a great look. We’ll take that any day of the week. You realize we’re up one, 10 seconds left, a chance to win the game. That’s all you can really ask for at that point in the game. So, we didn’t stress.”
It may not have played out as he expected it to, but the important thing for Thompson was that Golden State got the win. And he played a big part in making it happen, too, scoring 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting and adding three assists, two rebounds and a steal.
Barnes Had a Rough Go in His Latest Return to the Bay Area
As a younger player, Barnes played a considerable role during the early days of the Warriors’ dynastic run. Over four seasons as a member of the blue and gold crew, he averaged 10.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while shooting 37.6% from three-point range.
That said, his postseason return to the Bay Area has left a lot to be desired. Although he scored 17 points in Game 3, the Kings were outscored by a whopping 17 points when he was on the court. Meanwhile, he finished Game 4 with just nine points on 3-of-11 shooting.
Despite his rough go and the missed game-winner, Barnes remains confident in himself and his team moving forward.
“After you learn to put yourself together after 2016, I think one shot is not gonna necessarily faze you. So, for me, it’s all about trusting the process…” Barnes said.
“We got a good look, missed it, but at the end of the day, I think the way that we’re playing, the way we’re in the series right now, we’ve just got to continue to just do that and get better.”