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Mavs HC Rick Carlisle says Harrison Barnes is one of Dallas’ ‘top two defenders’

Harrison Barnes, Rick Carlisle.

Harrison Barnes has risen into a defensive stalwart, according to Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle.

Per Dwain Price of mavs.com, Carlisle considers Barnes as the team’s top two defenders. Though Carlisle didn’t mention his best defender, it’s safe to assume that it’s DeAndre Jordan — a two-time NBA All-Defensive First Team member.

“He’s picked his defense up to a level that is exceptional,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Right now he’s one of our top two defenders.”

Barnes, for his part, added defense to his arsenal simply because it gives his team a better shot at winning. As the saying goes, it’s defense that wins championships.

“I’m just trying to do whatever it takes to win, really,” Barnes said. “Coming into games you just do the job defensively so we’ll have a chance to win.”

For the season, Barnes is logging in 18.3 points per game, 4.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 0.8 steals per game. While his statistics necessarily reveal his defensive efforts, Barnes knows what his concrete goals are every game. Be it LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers he’s guarding, Barnes’ goal is to hold them below their scoring average:

“When you’re guarding guys like LeBron (James), Tobias Harris – whoever it may be – when guys got it going, you know that look. So regardless of my night offensively, if I can hold them below their average, that’s what’s going to help us win games.”

Barnes and the Mavs are 12-10 as of the moment and are 5-1 in their last six games.