Saturday Special: Matt Barnes Delivers Rare Night

Darius Soriano —  November 20, 2010

During the off-season, there were certain needs the Lakers were looking to fill.  Back up point guard was the obvious, but nearly as important was finding a suitable reserve at small forward.  The first name that the Lakers were hot after was Raja Bell but he spurned the Lakers for a bigger contract with the Utah Jazz.  At that point the Lakers moved on to Matt Barnes who, to many people’s surprise, was still available late in the free agency period.  He’d flirted with several teams but had not yet found a home and the Lakers were suddenly in the hunt for a guy that seemed to be a very good fit.

We’ve already discussed how nice it is to have Matt in the mix this year, but last night’s performance against the Timberwolves was the latest example of what Barnes can bring to the Lakers’ bench.  ESPN Stats and Information tells us that:

Matt Barnes made all seven field goals and all five of his free throws, finishing with a team-high 24 points in the Lakers win against the Timberwolves. Barnes also had seven rebounds and six assists. In the last 25 seasons, Barnes is the third player to go 20-5-5 and shoot 100 percent from both the field and free throw line in a game. The other two players are Gary Payton against the Cavaliers in 1994-95, and Charles Barkley against the Spurs in 1988-89.

Pretty good company, there.  Below is a quick highlight clip of Barnes from last night.  Here’s to more nights like last night’s to come this season (even if we can’t realistically expect more perfect nights).  Enjoy.

(video via TheRealCaCHooKaMan)

Darius Soriano

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13 responses to Saturday Special: Matt Barnes Delivers Rare Night

  1. I had soured on Barnes over the past couple of seasons and wasn’t a fan of signing him. I felt it was risky, that he could be a distraction, especially if he wasn’t getting enough minutes. I was clearly wrong – the guy’s been solid with his teammates and is catching onto the system faster than I would have thought. A very nice pickup.

  2. Whoa whoa whoa – why did Simmons block you, Darius? I find it hard to believe you said anything remotely inflammatory to him. Did he block you on principle because you run a Lakers blog? If so, that’s high-level bush league.

    Right, we’re kind of finding out what it would have been like to have Artest and Ariza on the same. Barnes is as similar to Trevor as any wing in the league. He’s a high-energy player, an excellent cutter, a little scrappier, a better rebounder, more floor vision, perhaps a little less of a gambler on D, little less foot speed, comparable from deep…but they are very, very similar high-energy cutters. I remember last yearsome people fantasized about picking up Ariza again, and what our lineup would look like with Bryant, Artest, and Ariza. Barnes is different in that he can play the 4 more easily than the 1 or 2 – he doesn’t have the foot speed to guard speedsters like Ariza. But otherwise, a very similar player. He’s been soaking up Fisher’s intangibles.

  3. It’s looking like a rare occurrence when both Ron-Ron and Barnes have off nights during the same game. We’re getting very good production at both ends from the SF position. Barnes is simply a perfect fit for the triangle from the wing, just like Trevor developed into one. Not only that, but Barnes is one of the best rebounding SFs in the NBA. That’s where his days as a high school All American wide receiver come in handy. I’ve seen him grab some difficult caroms that your average NBA rebounder would have no business handling.

    Just imagine how deadly our bench will be once we have the three-man big rotation of Drew, Pau, and Lamar. Barring foul trouble, two of those guys will always be in the game while the outcome is still in doubt.

  4. Question to those with knowledge. Is the Barnes we’re seeing the same as in Orlando and PHX, or has he improved in our system/with this team? I haven’t been able to watch the games, but he’s having a great season by the stats. He’s recording more of everything in fewer minutes. What say ye, forum blue and gilt?

  5. 4 – From what I hear from Orlando fans, his shooting seems to be way above par so far. I remember Magic fans were frustrated by how defenses often succeeded by leaving Barnes open last year, and he couldn’t consistently make them pay. So we might see him regress in that regard.

    In general, I think he’s always shown this skill set – he’s the ideal scrapper/energy-guy off the bench. He’s been forced into a starting role at several of his stops, and I think that’s where the disappointment occurs. At his age, he is who he is. He won’t change. Anytime a player is asked to play a role beyond his skillset, there’s disappointment. I just think Barnes has finally found a niche that perfectly suits his skillset. And the triangle also has highlighted a court vision that wasn’t necessary (or made apparent by the system) in places like GS or Phx.

  6. I was a bit hesitant about the Barnes signing, but had faith since we signed Artest and know how that turned out.

    Now, I have an inkling that somehow we’ll see Orlando in the finals, and have Barnes play nemesis to the Magic, since that seems to be what happens when we nab a small forward from the Magic.

  7. Barnes has exceeded my expectations as well. I expected the hustle and the athleticism, but his skill level and basketball IQ are higher than a thought. At less than $2M a year he must be the bargain of the offseason.

  8. I wonder if Phil might experiment with a “Killer B” lineup when Drew gets up occasionally … blake, brown, bryant, barnes and bynum. apart from the obvious alliteration, i think it can work, especially when teams decide to go small (think Denver last week Thursday). in bryant and brown, they would have mobile perimeter defenders to counter the perimeter threat, but big enough to prevent teams from making the cut into the paint. and of course, drew being out best rim protector, teams would think twice before driving to the hoop.

    what do you guys think?

  9. Remember the combination of Phil Jackson and the triangle offense. The offense is designed to give one of the offensive players an open look – the problem is rotating the ball to that player. Part of Phil’s genius is to set up his player combinations so as to emphasize their strengths, not expose their weaknesses. Also, the triangle requires and reveals a player’s BBL IQ.

    Barnes benefits from the combination of this system, this team, and this coach.

  10. I’m not sure if there are any PJ nay sayers still out there – certainly not on this blog! However, in years past the “knock” on Phil was that he won because he had so much talent to work with. Well, I think what we are seeing with Artest and Barnes is that PJ has what it takes to get the most out of talented – but challenging – players.

  11. Barnes was on my list as an inexpensive replacement for Ariza before the signing of Artest in 09. He was a player that got his by hustling and a nonstop motor making him a perfect fit in LA. I cant say that I am surprised by his success so far, the fact that he is contributing this early in the season is only a good sign for things to come later in the year. He has been all that and then some on a team that didnt need players looking to get theirs, but to fit in and do the little things that dont show up on the box score.

    A bench of Blake, Barnes, and LO(when Bynum gets back) will make this team a scary sight night in and night out( as if it already isnt). It is definitely a great time to be a fan of this team and I am taking it all in one game at a time.

  12. Chris

    I would love to see the killer B line up against fast high scoring teams like warriors, suns or maybe even orlando but def not against celtics