OAKLAND -- In the first quarter of the win over Portland, Warriors rookie forward Harrison Barnes drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing. It's surprising, not that he made the shot but that he didn't see guard Klay Thompson wide open in the corner.
"Oh, yeah, I was looking at the rim," Barnes said. "I didn't see anything else."
For Barnes, that's a good thing. Much of his rookie season has been marked by passivity and learning the ropes. But his tunnel vision Friday against Portland meant he was in attack mode, that he was looking for his own shot. He was the Black Falcon.
The result was 11 points and three rebounds in the first half. The Warriors want to see more of that.
"It takes us to a
When he's Harrison, the mild-mannered rookie trying to find his way in the league, he doesn't have much of an impact on the game. He's focused on doing the little things and staying out of the way of the team's prominent players -- Stephen Curry, David Lee and Thompson.
But when he's the Black Falcon, the difference is noticeable. He's determined, a bit selfish and testy. Wednesday against the Memphis Grizzlies, he practically got into a wrestling match with Tony Allen, a known tough guy, over a loose ball. On a breakaway
"Who I am on the court and who I am off the court are two different people," said Barnes, who gave himself the moniker in college. "I may say some things on the court I regret, do some things, act a little out of character. But what happens on the court stays on the court."
Barnes said that's the Black Falcon, and he's trying to unleash his alter ego more often.
Though he and Jackson said Barnes is a better player in that mode, the trick has been getting that out of him consistently.
He has shown more flashes lately, but they're still just flashes.
Barnes has scored in double-figures in six of his last eight games. Over that stretch, he's averaging 11.1 points on 51.5 percent shooting. And one still gets the sense he's just scratching the surface. He'll either be AWOL before sneaking up on you with a hot stretch, or he'll come out of the gates rolling, only to go quiet later.
"It would be nice to play a whole game," Barnes said, leaning on his sarcastic humor. "To put together two halves."
Sometimes, his teammates forget about him. And Jackson seems to go to Barnes consistently only when he has a mismatch to milk. But sometimes, the Black Falcon stays in the locker room at halftime.
Jackson said he thinks Barnes sometimes shows too much respect to the veterans, suppressing his game because he realizes he's just a rookie. But at the same time, Jackson said he won't "surrender possessions" to makes sure Barnes gets touches.
"It's important for him to realize that he has the (green) light," Jackson said. "If he wants to come down, get a rebound and facilitate a play, I want him to do that, and he has the light to do that. He has the light to go up to Steph and say, 'Run my play.' ... I want to see him aggressive. And I think that's going to come."
Warriors (23-12) at Denver (22-16), 5 p.m. CSNBA