Stephen Jackson may not have a future as an NBA analyst.
After Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the ex-Golden State Warriors forward posted an Instagram video in which he broke down his former team’s win over the Cleveland Cavaliers – from his bathtub. Among other takes, he chided the Cavaliers for allowing key contributions by Warriors role players Andre Iguodala and “that other little sorry dude.”
That other dude was Leandro Barbosa, who made an impact again in Game 2 Sunday. The 33-year-old guard, the second-oldest and longest-tenured NBA player on the Warriors’ roster, chipped in 10 points on 5-for-7 shooting in 17 minutes, giving Golden State a lift off the bench in a 110-77 blowout.
“He’s been huge the last two games for us,” Warriors center Andrew Bogut said of Barbosa. “He’s very quick up the court for a guy his age still. He still has a lot of his quickness, and he got some nice baskets for us in the third quarter and transition.”
The Warriors led by 10 when Stephen Curry picked up his fourth foul and left with 8:42 left in the third quarter. Enter Barbosa, who made two quick layups – one on a quick entry pass from Iguodala – and played the rest of the quarter as Golden State went ahead by 20 with the MVP on the bench.
Barbosa remained on the floor as Curry returned to start the fourth quarter, and the two teamed for another exciting sequence. Curry found Barbosa streaking to the basket with a touch pass for a transition layup that put the Warriors up by 25. On the next possession, Barbosa deflected a Kyrie Irving pass and took it the other way for another easy basket.
Barbosa had made his first 10 shots of the Finals before he missed a 30-foot three-pointer with the shot clock winding down. As he left the floor with 7:37 to play, he received a loud ovation from the Oracle Arena crowd.
In just over 17 minutes, Barbosa was plus-21 as the Warriors seized a 2-0 Finals lead.
“LB brings a burst off the bench that can really help us offensively,” Bogut said. “There have been games that he hasn’t played in the playoffs, and games where he’s been absolutely huge. He’s just another guy that stays professional and when his name’s called, he brings it.”
Barbosa averaged 6.4 points in 15.9 minutes per game this season. But he helped form the depth the Warriors leaned on during their 73-win campaign and early in the playoffs when Curry was hurt.
“We’re at our best when our depth is being used,” guard Shaun Livingston said. “And it can be any guy. Steph and Klay (Thompson) are our main players, our main scorers, but we have to be aggressive playing around those guys.”
This is the first time Barbosa has scored in double figures in back-to-back postseason games since 2008. There was a moment Sunday that recalled those younger days. On a fourth-quarter fast break, Barbosa scored an easy layup, then heel-kicked the ball to a referee as he jogged back up the court. They call him the “Brazilian Blur.”