Matt Barnes spent two years with the Lakers before leaving for the Clippers.
The Clippers (23-6) are currently riding a 15-game win streak and Barnes is averaging 11 points a game on 50.2% shooting from the field.
According to an NBA executive, one of the main reasons the Clippers have won so many in a row is “Matt Barnes is playing out of his mind.”
When told of the comments, Barnes’ response included a slam of ex-Lakers coach, Mike Brown.
“I’ve been working hard these past few summers. Last year, playing with the Lakers, I was told when I could shoot. If I made mistakes, I’d come out of the game,” said Barnes. “This year [Coach] Vinny [Del Negro] has installed a lot of trust in me. He lets me go out there and play my game. If I mess up, he still sticks with me and that goes a long way with any player.”
Barnes’ year with Phil Jackson was a disappointment when he simply wasn’t healthy for the postseason. Last year the forward played 63 games, in the lockout-shortened 66-game regular season, for Brown, averaging 7.8 points a game on 45.2% shooting. While he was banged up throughout the playoffs once again, Barnes clearly didn’t feel like he had Brown’s trust.
“Coach [Del Negro] has confidence in me; that’s all I need,” said Barnes. “I can play. I’ve just been stuck in a bad situation for a little while.”
Of course now that the Lakers have Coach Mike D’Antoni running the team, Barnes would have been a much more natural fit. Over the offseason, the Lakers did not look to re-sign him and the Clippers were happy to bring the veteran aboard for his second stint with the team.
The Lakers and Clippers meet again at Staples Center on Friday January 4. The Clippers took the first game on Nov. 2, 105-95.