Harrison Barnes sure is making it easy for Golden State to deal with Klay Thompson’s injured right ankle.
While the Warriors’ second-leading scorer rested for a second straight game, Barnes kept the NBA’s highest-scoring offense going.
Barnes had 22 points, Stephen Curry overcame a subpar shooting performance to score 16 points with 11 assists and the Warriors kept rolling at home with a 112-96 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night.
"He’s got a lot more to his game than we’ve seen," coach Steve Kerr said. "Part of that is he’s playing in the starting lineup with Stef and Klay, and sometimes he becomes the guy standing in the corner.
"I just think with Klay out, he’s sort of taken it upon himself to attack."
Two nights after scoring a season-high 25 in Golden State’s win over Atlanta, Barnes made 9 of 13 shots overall and scored eight points in the third quarter when the Warriors pulled away. It’s the first time in his career that Barnes has had 20 points or more in back-to-back games during the regular season.
Golden State needed it on a night Curry struggled with his own shot.
"It’s just been fun to cut loose," Barnes said. "Coach has given me the green light, so I’m just trying to play within the offense."
Curry missed 12 of his first 13 shots from the floor and was 0 for 7 from 3-point range before making back-to-back shots from beyond the arc in the third quarter. He finished 4 for 17.
Marreese Speights had 13 points off the bench, while Leandro Barbosa scored 12 for Golden State. The Warriors improved to 55-13, the second-most wins in team history and four shy of the franchise record.
Alexis Ajinca scored 15 points with eight rebounds for banged-up New Orleans, which played without four of its top six players, including leading scorer Anthony Davis.
"We just got overwhelmed with their pressure," Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. "They had us on our heels in transition. They drove the ball every single time, and off a back-to-back, our guys got tired."
Even with Thompson sidelined and Curry struggling on one of his worst shooting nights of the season, Golden State eased to its 10th straight win over New Orleans.
Coming off 114-95 win over NBA-leading Atlanta on Wednesday, the Warriors led by as much as 27 and forced the Pelicans into 21 turnovers.
Barnes filled some of the scoring void, helping Golden State pull away in the second quarter before Curry warmed up late in the third.
He missed his first seven shots beyond the arc before hitting a deep 3-pointer with 2:36 left that extended Golden State’s lead to 75-64. Curry later sank another trey to make it 86-66.
New Orleans, which began the night one game behind Oklahoma City in the race for eighth place in the West, couldn’t overcome their injury problems.
Davis missed his second consecutive game with a left ankle injury he suffered during a shootaround before Thursday’s loss to the Phoenix Suns. The Pelicans also were without Omer Asik, Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday.
Speights made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter to put the Warriors up 29-26, then Barnes helped Golden State pull away in the second. He made a step-back 3-pointer to push the Warriors’ lead to 10, then closed out the period with a three-point play and a 9-foot bank shot that made it 53-42 at halftime.