Matt Barnes/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
Doc Rivers on Friday night did not hesitate when he was asked about the importance of starting small forward Matt Barnes. Barnes recently missed a total of four games because of a sore hamstring and though the Clippers went 3-1 in them, Rivers apparently would not want to be without him for very long.
“Matt is huge for us,” Rivers said following his team’s 113-99 victory over the Washington Wizards on Friday at Staples Center. “He’s just an important player for us. The stats don’t say it. He had eight points, but he made some huge plays for us. Even early, (Washington’s) Paul Pierce makes a 3, I think it was the second shot of the game, and then Matt comes down and makes a 3 on top of him. Those little plays are big plays and that‟s what Matt has been doing for us all year.”
Barnes shot just 3 of 10 Friday. He also had two blocks and four rebounds.
Barnes, who turned 35 on March 9, is averaging 10.0 points and 3.9 rebounds and is shooting 45.5 percent from the field, 38 percent from 3-point range (112 of 295).