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Matt Barnes Is The Lakers New Enforcer

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Matt Barnes Is the Lakers New Enforcer

One of the biggest reasons why Matt Barnes was brought to Los Angeles was because of his toughness. He is a tough, gritty, and pesky defender that has been known to get under the skin of his opponent and isn’t afraid to mix it up with anyone. One of the most famous altercations was with his current teammate Kobe Bryant when Barnes played for the Magic.With the playoffs right around the corner, teams are battling for position, tempers are high, and teams are trying to make statements. On Thursday night Matt Barnes flexed his muscles against Dallas. After Jason Terry shoved Steve Blake to the ground, Barnes came to the defense of his teammate, shoved Jason Terry, and then pushed down a Mavericks Assistant Coach. Even though Barnes was suspended for the Lakers next game against the Jazz, he sent a message. Matt Barnes let it be known that playoffs are right around the corner and if any team is going to try and bully the Lakers, they better think twice about it because they will not back down to anyone.Matt Barnes joined Into the Night with Tony Bruno to talk about why he reacted the way he did with Jason Terry, whether or not he knew that it was an assistant coach that he shoved, if he saw the crazed fan try to come down the stairs, whether or not he felt like he was going to get suspended, and if the first seed in the Western Conference matters to the Lakers.

Why he reacted the way he did to Steve Blake getting shoved:

“That’s just my teammate. All the unnecessary contact is exactly what I said earlier, it was unnecessary. I had my teammates back and basketball is starting to pick up now. We’re all fighting for playoff position and maybe it was a hard type of playoff foul, but at the same time we had to let him know that you’re not going to come into our house and throw our team around like that.”

Whether or not he knew it was a Mavericks assistant coach that was grabbing him:

“No I didn’t really know. I was kinda confused Joey Crawford was kinda bodying me all the way to the sidelines and I just had to go with where he was taking me but he stuck me right in the middle of the Mavericks bench. Then from nowhere someone kinda bear hugs my arms so I don’t really know who it is. I’m just trying to walk back to the bench and get this guy off me so I shook him off once, he grabbed me again, and I still didn’t really know who it was and I finally got his arms off me tossed him back and it wasn’t until then I realized it was a coach. But he still shouldn’t have been grabbing me.”

On the crazed fan that was running down the stairs:

“I saw that once we got back to the locker room. There was some half-naked lady trying to run down the stairs. You never know what’s going to happen in LA.”

If he thought he would be suspended:

“I knew it was coming. I accept responsibility for what I did. I lost my head, but at the same time it’s sending a message and setting a tone to let everyone know the playoffs are coming. I hate to be sitting here watching the game on TV but if I was in the same position I would probably do the same thing again.”

How much getting the first overall seed in the West means to the Lakers:

“You always want to jockey for the best position you can get, but it doesn’t matter to us. Of course we would like to be first but we feel we are built to play anybody anywhere so if it’s the first spot or the second, we will be ready.”

Whether or not he is tougher than Ron Artest:

“I battle Ron every day in practice and I battle Kobe every day in practice and Ron hands down is the strongest human being I have ever had to play against. He’s just rock strong. It’s crazy how strong he is.”

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