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Barnes wants to guard Pierce, calls him a flopper

In the previous round, LeBron James [1] said he would defend the streaking Rajon Rondo [2]. Now, Matt Barnes [3] wants the task of defending the Celtics [4]‘ hottest scorer.

On Thursday, the Orlando Sentinel reported [5] that Barnes would like an opportunity to stop Pierce, who is averaging 25 points per game, the most among all players in the series.

‘€œI’€™d love to guard Pierce,’€ Barnes told the Sentinel [5]. ‘€œI 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 [6].

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.

‘€œMy third foul in the third quarter, when I tried to beat him over the screen, he fell down like I threw him,’€ he said. ‘€œIt 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.