Lights, camera, action; when you hear those three words immediately you envision the city of Los Angeles. When you envision the city of L.A. your mind instantly conceives thoughts of the Los Angeles Lakers. But when discussing the Lakers a name you seldomly hear is Matt Barnes, the 6’7 pesky defender out of UCLA. Barnes is the only player on the roster who is actually from the state of California outside of Darius Morris.
As of late Barnes has been the man behind the scenes, receiving pocket-sized media attention. He is consistently overshadowed by players such as Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, and Pau Gasol. What hasn’t been examined is the play of this Laker bench in the absence of Kobe Bryant. The play of Barnes has alot to do with the Lakers success over the last 5 games (4-1), giving them a spark off of the bench. Matt is averaging 8.3 points per game to go along with 8.2 rebounds per game over his last 10 outings. Also lets not overlook his Detroit Piston’s “bad boy” style of defense he provides. Perceived by many as hot-headed, Barnes adds toughness to this Lakers roster. This was seen in the Lakers 112-108 victory over the Dallas Mavericks Sunday afternoon, making defensive play after defensive play. Barnes also scored 11 points, secured 11 rebounds, while donating 8 assists, and made savvy defensive plays down the stretch. None more important than the exceptional block on Jason Terry’s attempt to tie the game with 5 tics left. With the thought of last seasons sweep lingering in the back of his mind, in a press conference Barnes stated. “We’re excited about the playoffs,but we’re still going to have that bitter taste in our mouths until then”. Before the game saving block of Jason Terry’s layup Barnes also took pride in defending Dirk Nowitzki in crunch time. Forcing the 7 footer into bad shots with his quick feet and bully-like style of defense, Dirk finished the evening shooting a ghastly 9-28 from the field. Per ESPN.com Dirk stated,”I just have to make shots,” and the defense of Matt Barnes made it difficult.
So let’s thank Coach Kobe for recruiting Matt Barnes to L.A. during the free agent period in 2010. Next on the docket for Barnes and the Lakers is the San Antonio Spurs, in their last meeting L.A. won 98-84. It is looking like the Lakers will again be without their captain Kobe Bryant for tonights game.
*In the last meeting C Andrew Bynum compiled 30 rebounds
Lakernation let’s see how Matt Barnes and the Laker bench perform Tuesday night at Staples Center. This game guarantees to be an intriguing matchup, being L.A. prevailed in the previous meeting.
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