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Barnes wants to guard Pierce, calls him a flopper

05.20.10 at 9:56 pm ET
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Pierce drives past Barnes in Game 1

Paul Pierce drives past Matt Barnes in Game 1. (AP)

In the previous round, LeBron James said he would defend the streaking Rajon Rondo. Now, Matt Barnes wants the task of defending the Celtics’ hottest scorer.

On Thursday, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Barnes would like an opportunity to stop Pierce, who is averaging 25 points per game, the most among all players in the series.

“I’d love to guard Pierce,” Barnes told the Sentinel. “I got the chance to guard him a little bit the last game and felt that I did a pretty good job. But he’s really rolling right now, so we need to slow him down somehow.”

Pierce is shooting nearly 60 percent from the field in over 41 minutes per game, while averaging seven rebounds and five assists in the Eastern Conference finals.

It is a bounce-back from the Eastern Conference semifinals, in which he averaged 13.5 points off of 34.5 percent shooting from the field and 30.8 percent from 3-point range. His defensive numbers had also dropped to less than five boards and four assists against the Cavaliers.

But there is more to it than just trying to slow Pierce’s offensive attack. Barnes told the Sentinel Pierce has another skill besides scoring. He believes Pierce knows how to sell calls, too.

“My third foul in the third quarter, when I tried to beat him over the screen, he fell down like I threw him,” he said. “It was ridiculous. But the refs called it, so it was a good play. It was a flop, 100 percent, and that’s how some guys like to play. But if the refs call it, it’s effective.”

Pierce has shot 17-for-21 at the line in the first two games. He drew nine fouls in Game 2.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Matt Barnes, Orlando Magic, Paul Pierce
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