FRIDAY FIVE: MATT BARNES TOP PLAYS
Matt Barnes has played his best basketball of the season over the past two weeks, averaging 16.2 points, 2.7 assists, 5.6 rebounds and shooting 54.5 percent from the field (43.9 percent from 3-point range) since Feb. 21. In those 10 games, the Clippers have won nine and Barnes has scored at least 10 points in all of them, setting a new career high. Here are Barnes’ best five plays over the past 10 games:
5. Mar. 10, 2014 vs. Suns: While it wasn’t nearly as dramatic as his go-ahead 3-pointer in the final seconds against the Nuggets last month, Barnes buried a 3-pointer at the third quarter buzzer against the Suns on Monday to help the Clippers pull away.
4. Mar. 6, 2014 at Lakers: Barnes shows off his football background, firing an inbounds pass about 60 feet on a line to Blake Griffin who saunters between two defenders for a layup. In high school Barnes was used to being on the opposite end of passes like that, being named an All-American as a senior wide receiver.
3. Mar. 8, 2014 vs. Hawks: Barnes has made a killing from 3-point range during his 10-game run, but here he misses one and makes a great backdoor cut from the corner. Paul finds him and Barnes finishes the play with a dunk.
2. Mar. 12, 2014 vs. Warriors: With the Clippers up by nine against the Warriors, Barnes catches a pass in the corner from Chris Paul and drains his third 3-pointer of the game, effectively sealing one of the Clippers’ best wins of the season. “Turn out the lights, folks,” Ralph Lawler called as Barnes headed back the other direction down the court waving his arms across his chest as if he were ending a fight by technical knockout.
1. Mar. 4, 2014 at Suns: In Barnes’ best game of the stretch, and the season, he scored 28 points, including 18 in the third quarter. How hot was Barnes from beyond the arc? On this play, he grabs a defensive rebound, dribbles to the left wing on the other end of the floor, gets a screen from Griffin and a launches a 3-pointer that falls through. Talk about a heat check.