Since the acquisition of guard Chris Paul, Lob City has taken the NBA headlines by storm but one team that’s not overly impressed are the Los Angeles Lakers and they are getting quite tired of hearing about it. One guy in particular is forward Matt Barnes, a guy who is known to not get along with a lot of people, and that has been kind of his thing in the NBA during his eight NBA seasons. He’s an enforcer, a goon, a tough-guy — whatever you want to call him. He tells it like it is and then takes that act on to the court. During the summer, was involved in an indicant where he punched a guy in a pro-am game.
In the Lakers second preseason game he gave Blake Griffin a nice little shove for apparently no reason and did his fair share of talking. Why? Because he’s not a fan of Lob City.
“They have a lot of reason to be excited, but all the celebration after dunks and all that kind of stuff, I mean, I just kind of think it looks amazing and it makes ‘Sports Center,’ but I mean, let’s just play basketball … They act like they won the dunk contest after every dunk,” Barnes said. “So, as players, people aren’t going to tolerate that.”
Pau Gasol was frustrated with the Clippers as well and not just about Lob City but more so because of flopping. “I think we were upset that they were flopping a little too much,” he said.
Barnes took the baton and added onto that, specifically about Griffin.
“He’s an amazing athlete and an amazing player but he does flop a lot,” Barnes said. “You’re too big and too strong to be doing that. Then he wants to talk.
“… He’s a special athlete. Probably one of the best athletes I’ve ever seen, but all the flopping is unnecessary. That’s the way he plays and it works too, they call it, so you can’t be mad at him for it … I looked at [the replay] and yeah, my arms did get extended but [Griffin] flailed everywhere like I threw him to half-court.”
When asked by a reporter if Clippers were rubbing it in the Lakers face, Barnes said, ‘I don’t think they were necessarily rubbing it in.’ ‘I just think they’re excited about their season, which they should be. They got a very talented team. But just play basketball.’”
Thing is, Griffin has been told his whole life by his parents, coaches, friends and whoever else that everyone on the court is out to get him. He’s been told that they’re playing intentionally rough with him, that the refs aren’t being fair because he’s bigger and stronger. So it’s just something he thinks. Hence the exaggerating. It’s annoying, but it’s just how it is.
The moral of the story is, the Lakers aren’t really digging this whole Lob City thing. They’ve tried to be nice about it, but after all the woofing they likely heard over two preseason wins, they’re sick of it. They’re the team with the banners in Staples, not the Clips. The next meeting between the two teams is Jan. 14. Expect some fireworks.