J.J. Barea Proves Critical For Mavericks in Game 2 … And, Consequently, Game 3

May 6, 2011 – 9:45 am by Eric Schmoldt

With superstar players like Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki and veterans like Pau Gasol, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Lamar Odom on the floor, how has J.J. Barea become such a focal point for the Dallas Mavericks against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Barea dominated in Game 2, scoring 12 points and adding four assists in 17 minutes off the bench. He and Dirk Nowitzki coordinated the high pick-and-roll nearly perfectly, leaving the Lakers stunned at the Staples Center. More importantly, Barea may have unintentionally given the Mavericks a leg up in Game 3 back at home tonight.

Barea was on the receiving end of an open-hand slap/clothesline from Ron Artest in the waning minutes of Game 2. The flagrant foul cost Ron Artest a one-game suspension which will be served tonight, leaving the Lakers without one of their starters.

J.J. Barea joined ESPN Radio Dallas with Galloway and Company to discuss the flagrant foul and what actually happened, if the one-game suspension was enough, when he realized that Game 2 was in the books, why the postseason games against the Lakers have gone so differently from those in the regular season and what lies ahead in Game 3 tonight.

How’s your face?:

“Oh it’s good, I’m doing good man. I’ve been handling all of that.”

You weren’t acting at all were you?:

“Ah, no. At the beginning I wasn’t acting. I was making sure my face was good and then my eyes got a little bit watery. When I found out everything was good, I just got up.”

What happened on the play from his vantage point?:

“It was kind of weird because Lamar Odom fouled me and then [Artest] came with an open hand all over my face. It was just kind of weird. I think when he hit me he just kind of regretted that he hit me. I don’t know, you never know what he’s thinking.”

Does he feel the one-game suspension was just?:

“I think one game is fine. I think what the league didn’t like is that it was to the face and it was after the play was called. That’s never going to be good with the league. They’re making a point and they suspended him for one game.”

At what point in Game 2 did he realize the Mavs were going home up 2-0 in the series?:

“We were doing great defensively in the third quarter and we were getting stops. I knew when that third quarter ended, I think we were up six. … I knew when I came in we just need a little bit more and we’ll take this home. I was able to provide that. I was aggressive, we had shooters spread out and it was working for us.”

What’s been the biggest difference from the regular season, when the Lakers had their number?:

“I think our determination. We want to win; we know we can win. Everybody’s playing their role. We’re playing hard. Our defense has been awesome. Sometimes we go up and down without scoring, but we’re still getting stops. We’re eventually going to score at some point.”

On what lies ahead in Game 3:

“It’s about us. I think everybody’s talking that the Lakers aren’t playing good or something. It’s that we’re playing great. It’s about us keep doing what we’re doing. We’ve got to keep playing even better here at home.”

Listen to J.J. Barea on ESPN Radio Dallas here

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