Cast Matt Barnes as one of the few not exactly enthralled with the "Lob City" Clippers.
After seeing them throw down numerous dunks during their preseason win Wednesday over the Lakers, Barnes maintained the team's apparent excessive celebrations prompted him to push Clippers forward Blake Griffin to the floor with 6:48 remaining in the third quarter.
"It's a preseason game," Barnes said after Thursday's practice at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo. "Yeah, they're catching lobs and dunking. But it's just a preseason game. Let's just play basketball. If you make a dunk, act like you've done it before. He's got hundreds of them. There's no need for the hoorah after every single dunk. It's unnecessary."
Lakers forward Pau Gasol made similar claims after the game Wednesday, accusing the Clippers of flopping. Gasol refused to name anyone personally. But after seeing Griffin fall after his initial push and an offensive foul late in the game, Barnes didn't mince words.
"One of the best athletes I've ever seen," Barnes said of Griffin. "But all the flopping is unnecessary. That's the way he plays and it works. They called it so you can't be mad at him for it."
In fact, the Lakers appeared very mad because of it. Gasol, Barnes and Josh McRoberts often played with Griffin contentiously any time he touched the ball. Last season, Griffin irked Lamar Odom because he physically fought for a rebound in the waning seconds of a blowout game.
Barnes is no stranger to mixing it up. He pushed Dallas guard Jason Terry in a regular season game last season after he shoved Steve Blake to the ground. Barnes then broke free from a bearhug of Dallas assistant Terry Stotts.
Of course, two seasons ago, Barnes also played contentiously when matched up with Kobe Bryant. He went to greath lengths to rattle his focus. So much that he pretended to throw an inbounds pass at Bryant's face.
But in this case, Barnes maintains his push has nothing to do with his physical nature.
"I don't think they were necessarily rubbing it in," Barnes said of the Clippers. "I just think they're excited about their season, which they should be. They got a very talented team. But just play basketball."
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