Last Thursday, the Sacramento Kings kept hopes of an NBA Bubble playoff berth alive, thanks in part to a strong performance by swingman and UNC alum, Harrison Barnes in their 140-125 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Black Falcon scored 22 points for the Kings, and along with back-up center Alex Len, led the team with six rebounds, finishing the game with a healthy +/- rating of +10. Barnes often drew the difficult task of guarding emerging star Brandon Ingram, who did score 24 points, but had a woeful +/- of -14. Barnes was up for the fight, illustrated by the Discovery Channel video below (substitute the bald eagle with a Black Falcon):
i do not know how to describe this tiktok from the actual discovery channel pic.twitter.com/lasInpCnJB— sophy ziss (@sophyish) June 23, 2020
The Kings were coming off the back of a disappointing loss to the Dallas Mavericks and came out piping hot from the tip, scoring 49 first quarter points. Bogdan Bogdanovic led the way for Sacramento, scoring a career high 35 points. De’Aaron Fox was simply unstoppable getting to the rim and into pockets of space for mid-range shots, scoring 30 points and dishing out 10 assists against only three turnovers.
Barnes had a very modern NBA game, scoring all of his points either at the rim or from 3-point range (save for 2-2 shooting at the free throw line). Barnes found a lot of joy on Kings sets that drew movement on the wing away from him, which allowed him to post up on the skinnier Ingram. Ingram failed on several attempts to use his long reach, anticipating Barnes’s movement towards the basket, which left him ghosted in the middle of the paint. Barnes would spin away from Ingram for uncontested lay-ups, while Ingram received cold stares from the rest of the Pelicans.
Barnes’s play comes as a relief to Kings fans and coach Luke Walton. Barnes announced on July 14th that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and did not initially travel to the Orlando bubble with the team. What he did not mention at the time was that his wife and mother were also Covid-19 positive. Thankfully, all three are recovering nicely, but as Harrison Barnes told CNN’s Don Lemon, his wife had a much tougher experience than he did.
For the NBA neutral, Harrison Barnes’s struggle to return from COVID-19, along with his generous charitable contributions, should give a warm feeling that merits support for the Kings. For the Carolina faithful, no small measure of joy came from Barnes’s assistance in defeating the NBA team with the most Duke players; forgotten Frank Jackson, drafted before Porzingis AND Booker Jahlil Okafor, slam poet (and begrudgingly interesting podcast host) JJ Redick, hype freight train Zion Williamson, and former UNC season-ticket holder Brandon Ingram.
As Harrison Barnes has done throughout the Bubble season, he dedicated $25,000 to a charity focused on protecting black Americans from police violence, and promoting black communities. After the win over the Pelicans, Barnes’s focused charity was Mothers Against Police Brutality (@FightingMothers).
Win today is for #ClintonAllen #TesfaieMokuria #JasonHarrison #FredBradfordJr #GeneviveDawes #JuanMay and the countless men and women killed as a result of excessive and deadly force. $25K will go to @FightingMothers to seek justice for victims of police brutality. #SayTheirNames pic.twitter.com/h1nzEB13Pc— Harrison Barnes (@hbarnes) August 6, 2020