Jackson on Barnes: 'We're seeing a guy grow up before our very eyes'
When Warriors coach Mark Jackson looked at the final stat sheet after Golden State's 97-87 win in Game 4, he was caught off guard by the 26 shot attempts next to rookie Harrison Barnes' name.
"I didn't know until after the game that he took that many shots," Jackson said. "Which is great because I didn't think he took a bad shot."
At best, Barnes was the Warriors' fifth scoring option during the regular season, but as the playoffs have unfolded -- and injuries have taken their toll -- his role has steadily increased.
"We've seen a guy grow up right before our very eyes," Jackson said. "As soon as the regular season stopped and the postseason started he has he elevated his game. He has embraced the moment, he has embraced the spotlight and he has played with tremendous poise and great confidence."
Confidence has never been lacking for Barnes, who was the nation's top recruit his senior year at Ames (Iowa) High School before a two-year career at North Carolina. However, it took time during the regular season for Barnes to realize he wasn't just a face-up player on offense and could score in other ways.
"My game has changed a lot since I came into the NBA," Barnes said. "As I got more comfortable and Coach got more confident in me, I was able to get out to the perimeter and start driving more."
Barnes is averaging 15.9 points per game during the postseason -- up from 9.2 during the regular season. In Game 4, Golden State used Barnes a lot in isolation, giving him the option to shoot baseline jumpers or drive.
"Even though he didn't shoot a high clip (9-for-26), he created a lot of different opportunities for different guys," center Andrew Bogut said. "I think once he got rolling, we kept posting him and they putting small guys on him and we kept going to that matchup."
It worked, which means Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will likely have some sort of counter before Game 5 tips off Tuesday in San Antonio.
Curry signs off on final play of regulation
Based on the immediate reaction on Twitter, Jackson's decision to let Jarrett Jack dribble out the clock in regulation and launch a potential game-winner as time expired was questionable at best.
For Stephen Curry, who was limited by a sprained left ankle, the play call was obviously the correct decision primarily because of the way the Spurs were matching up defensively.
"Danny Green is a great defender, long athletic and we feel like we had a better advantage with Tony (Parker)," Curry said. "Obviously, Tony is a competitor, but you try to just go at matchups. On the other end, I'm sure they would have probably tried to go at me if it was the same situation."
In a similar situation in Game 1, Curry got the last shot, but was forced to heave up a prayer that missed badly.
"Jack was obviously feeling good," Curry said. "He had four huge buckets down the stretch and you feed the hot hand. I didn't really get a good look at what move he made or where he was on the court, but it was a good play call."
Bogut expects more Hack-an-Aussie
Andrew Bogut attempted just two free throws in Game 4, but is fully expecting the Spurs to send him to the line when the opportunities arise the rest of the series. "Pop is a great coach and if I was coaching their team -- my free-throw rhythm has been poor all season -- I would do the same thing," Bogut said. "If I get at least get one, it definitely helps my cause. If I start missing two, then we get in trouble." Bogut, who shot 50 percent during the regular season (19-of-38), said his free-throw shooting will be a priority during the offseason. A career 57.2 percent free-throw shooter, Bogut spends a lot of time before and after practice working on his stroke from the line and has even experimented shooting left handed. He is 6-of-16 in this series and 7-of-21 during the postseason.
Coincidently, it was the Spurs' 14-of-25 (56 percent) effort at the free-throw line in Game 4 that ultimately proved costly. The Warriors were 20-of-25 from the line as a team.
Biedrins surprised to get the call
Andris Biedrins had good reason to be surprised when Jackson called for him at the end of the bench in the first half of Game 4. The Warriors center hadn't appeared in a playoff game in over six years.
So how many times did Jackson have to call for the seldom-used holdover from the "We Believe" Warriors?
"I would say three or four," Jackson said. "Probably the third time, even the guys were looking at me saying, 'Did you say Biedrins?'
"But I've said it all along, just because a guy isn't playing doesn't mean I don't believe in him."
The Warriors were plus-2 with Biedrins' three minutes of playing time. He had two rebounds and committed one foul.