Balls: Unsung Barnes does Wilkes impersonation 

OAKLAND — It may come as a surprise to many that Harrison Barnes has been the most dependable Warriors player in the Western Conference semifinals, but maybe it shouldn’t be one at all.

Barnes was good again in a 98-78 rout of the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, when he scored 14 points, grabbed three rebounds and blocked one shot in 33 minutes. Five turnovers and a botched dunk were the only glitches.

“He was really good all year long, so it would make sense that it would carry over,” coach Steve Kerr reminded us.

See, Barnes has a bit of Jamaal Wilkes in him. Lest we forget, Wilkes was the rookie forward who rode shotgun to Rick Barry on the 1975 NBA championship team. Like Wilkes, Barnes plays solid defense. He rebounds when necessary. He hits open shots. Yet he does all of this with so much consistency and so little flash, it’s not until you look at the box score that you say, “He did that?”

Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry hog the headlines because they score the most points, but Barnes has been more consistent than any of them. In five games, he averaged 12.8 points and 3.6 rebounds and converted at least half his shots in each one.

“Rock-solid,” Kerr described Barnes’ play in the series. “He has been smooth offensively in making shots for us when we need them. He’s a good midpost player, and he can catch [the ball at the] foul line extended and put it on the floor once or twice or hit a pull-up jumper or take it to the rim. He has been very poised and under control. He has been one of our best players this series.”

Even if not all of us have noticed it.

ALLEN SHOOTS SELF IN FOOT: Grizzlies swingman Tony Allen was held out of Game 5 because of what coach Dave Joerger called a “tweaked” left hamstring, but a severely strained jump shot was more like it.

Allen reported no problems in Games 2 and 3, then he absolutely killed his team in Game 4, when he shot 2 of 9 with no defender closer than the Graceland mansion. The Grizzlies are in desperate need of shotmakers, not defenders.

“It’s not going to get healed or healthy until the offseason,” Joerger said of the hamstring, presumably.

Balls feels for the poor guy. It really does. Can you imagine how it feels to have the dry heaves for 11 years?

A VOTE FOR VOGT: The A’s are in last place with Stephen Vogt. So where, oh where would they be without him? Demoted to the Double-A Texas League probably.

Vogt took some silly numbers into Wednesday — .337 batting average, team-high nine home runs and American League-high 30 RBI. And the Tampa Bay Rays reject also had a 35 percent success rate on opponents’ stolen base attempts, which is 4 percent better than the league average.

“Hopefully, he’s got a few more [homers] in his tank,” manager Bob Melvin said. “It’s consistent at-bats every night — power, average, the whole bit. To be able to do that at a premier defensive position as a catcher is pretty rare. We’re lucky to have him.”

Vogt is the fairly typical Billy Beane reclamation project. The 12th-round draft pick made his major-league debut at 27 years old before the general manager acquired him for a box of balls, two bats and a rosin bag. The guy wasn’t even on the Opening Day roster last season, for gosh sakes. Now he may be headed to the All-Star Game in July.

YOU DON’T SAY? Not only has Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval been a considerable waste of money on the field, but the ex-Giant hasn’t made a favorable first impression away from it, either.

“I’m still waiting for my first good Pablo quote,” one member of the Boston media contingent moaned. “He has been astonishingly bad.”

RATED R FOR RELIEF: A’s fans are advised to take a good look at soon-to-be-free agent pitcher Edward Mujica in the next few weeks. He’s the last of the Mujicas, you know.

Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? (A compliment?!?) Send them to pladewski@sfexaminer.com and you may get your name in the paper one day.
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