Can a dunk be nonchalant and forceful at the same time?
Warriors rookie forward Harrison Barnes tested those limits early in the fourth quarter of a 131-117 win over the Nuggets in Denver on Tuesday night, throwing down a reverse dunk past Anthony Randolph.
Attacking from the right wing, Barnes pump-faked to get Randolph out of position and then dribbled hard to his left before elevating from just outside the protected circle. Rather than attempting to finish on the strongside, where the long Randolph loomed with thoughts of a block, Barnes coasted to the weakside, tossing in the slam with both hands over his head. Replays show just how far Barnes extended to finish the play and how effective the rim was as a deterrent to Randolph's defensive effort. The flush predictably set off a wild celebration on the Golden State bench, antics that included a karate kick and lots of shirt grabbing.
Barnes, the No. 6 pick in the 2012 draft, finished with 24 points (on nine-for-14 shooting), six rebounds and two assists in 34 minutes. Stephen Curry scored a game-high 30 points for the Warriors, who took their offense to a whole new level. Corey Brewer and Ty Lawson each had 19 points for the Nuggets in a losing effort.
Golden State, the No. 6 seed, and Denver, the No. 3 seed, are now tied at one game apiece in their first-round series. Game 3 is set for Friday in Oakland.