Harrison Barnes' 24-Point Performance Shows That He's Warriors' Biggest X-Factor

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIApril 24, 2013

DENVER, CO - APRIL 23:  Harrison Barnes #40 of the Golden State Warriors saves the ball from going out of bounds against the Denver Nuggets during Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at the Pepsi Center on April 23, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

A big performance by Harrison Barnes in Game 2 against the Denver Nuggets not only helped lead the team to victory, but also proved that he is the true X-factor for the Golden State Warriors.

The Nuggets entered this game with a 24-game winning streak at home, but the Warriors were able to end that, winning 131-117 to even the series at 1-1.  Barnes went off in the game scoring 24 points on 9-for-14 shooting while adding six rebounds as well.

The play of Barnes was definitely a big reason the Warriors were able to win Game 2.  In Game 1 of this series, Barnes went 3-for-4 from the field and only scored eight points for the game.  The Warriors went on to lose 97-95.  In fact, the Warriors have now won eight straight games when Barnes scores at least 10 points, including the win on Tuesday night.  The Warriors are also 26-10 when Barnes has scored in double figures.

The hot streak seems to have started in November, when Barnes was averaging 10.4 points per game on 45.9 percent shooting.  That was after a rough December where he averaged only 7.8 points per game while shooting only 38.1 percent.

By getting Barnes to find his shot, the team as a whole does better.  The hot streak by Barnes left other players open on Tuesday night, as Stephen Curry, Jarrett Jack and Klay Thompson all scored over 20 points in the win as well.

Barnes was also able to make a pretty big impact on the defensive side of the ball.  He spent a lot of time guarding Wilson Chandler, who struggled on the night.  He finished with 14 points, but on only 4-for-15 shooting.  Chandler is usually a much more efficient scorer, shooting 46.2 percent from the field for the year.

The loss of David Lee makes Barnes an even more important player for the Warriors.  According to a team report on NBA.com, Lee will miss the remainder of the playoffs with a torn right hip flexor.

In the first game without Lee, it seems like Barnes did a pretty good job.

The Warriors are hoping that Barnes can keep playing like he did Tuesday in order to help the team pull off the big upset against the Nuggets.  As the No. 6 seed, it is certainly no easy task taking down the No. 3 seed, especially when they finished with a 57-25 record in the regular season.

It appears that Barnes is showing signs of becoming a true star in this league, even if it is only in flashes.  However, those flashes prove why Barnes is the true X-factor on this team.