Barnes Wants Pierce for Game 3 Assignment, Calls Him "Flopper"
Matt Barnes is not the kind of player who cares about how many points he scores, or how many assists he has in a game. He cares about winning, and knows the best way he can help his team do that is to defend. In his time in the NBA, Barnes has guarded the best of the best: Kobe, LeBron, Wade, you name it. Does he always get the better of them? Of course not. But he always wants to take on the other team's number one guy. Recently, Barnes commented about matching up against Celtics forward Paul Pierce, who is averaging 25 points per game thus far in the series, “I’d love to guard Pierce. I got the chance to guard him a little bit the last game and felt that I did a pretty good job. But he’s really rolling right now, so we need to slow him down somehow.
This wouldn't be the first time Barnes has played against The Truth. The Orlando small forward went on to say, "I’ve studied his game a lot and played against him in the summertime in L.A...I don’t go for a lot of the stuff that he tries to do, but he still makes tough shots. He’s a tough player. I think that I can slow him down. You don’t really stop anybody; you just want to slow him down.’’ Pierce knows that last part all too well after having to guard reigning two-time MVP LeBron James in the last series.
However, rather than sticking to the humble, "He's a great player. He does this, that, and the other thing right..." type quote, Barnes took a shot at Pierce, saying, “My third foul in the third quarter, when I tried to beat him over the screen, he fell down like I threw him. It was ridiculous. But the refs called it so it was a good play. It was a flop, 100 percent, and that’s how some guys like to play. But if the refs call it, it’s effective.” Those are big words for a guy averaging a whopping four pointers per game in the series.
I don't think the statement is nearly as cold as Q-Rich's "actresses" accusation in the opening round, but saying that down 2-0 in the series and going into the Garden is just not smart. The Celtics fans are going to absolutely eat him alive. If Orlando coach, Stan Van Gundy, does assign Barnes to guard Paul in Game 3, I just don't think Barnes has the size and speed to defend Pierce well. I fully expect the Celtics captain to rise to the occasion and make Barnes eat his words.
Stephen Bailey designed Beantown Banter, writes the majority of the pieces for the site, and controls the social networking among other things. Bailey is currently a freshman at Syracuse University majoring in Sport Management. He is a diehard Celtics and Red Sox fan, but also actively follows the Bruins and Patriots. Additionally, he serves as a contributing writer at Celtics Life. Earlier in 2010, Bailey interned in the Sports Department of the New Haven Register, interviewed multiple athletes, including ex-Celtic Ryan Gomes, and worked as part of a team to get the section done every weeknight. He covers both Swimming & Diving and Women's Tennis for The Daily Orange, SU's school paper. In his free time, Bailey enjoys playing pickup basketball, beating his floormates in NBA 2K11, and sporcling for hours on end. Although he is unsure exactly what he wants to do for a career, it has always been his dream to cover the Celts and Sox.