At the Y or NBA, J.J. Barea getting it done

DALLAS -- There's no more scrutinized a player on the Dallas Mavericks than sub-6-foot point guard J.J. Barea, and Jason Terry nailed why.

"You look at him and I’ve got guys challenging J.J., from family and friends to guys at the YMCA at the rec," Terry said after Barea lit up the Los Angeles Clippers and Baron Davis for 25 points, second only to Terry's 28 in Tuesday's 112-105 victory. "They want to take his spot. But ain’t nobody taking his spot. He’s one of the toughest players on the team."

Perception is not reality in the case of Barea. Line him up at the Y with a bunch of guys on lunch break and Barea might get passed up when picking sides. But, whatever. Tuesday he picked up where he left off in the fourth quarter in New Jersey where he hit two big 3-pointers and again providing the energy boost that was otherwise lacking.

Against the Clippers, the Mavs' starters got down 21-10. Barea had 14 points in the second quarter and 18 at halftime, blowing by Davis on penetrations and knocking down 3-pointers. Because of it the Mavs were quite fortunate to trail by just eight at halftime.

"We started really slow and I remember saying we, the bench, needed to come out with a lot of energy," Barea said. "I just went out there, coach put me in a little bit earlier, and I just played with energy and things were opening up for me. My big guys were setting great screens all night."

And then there's Barea's pesky defense that triggered a frustrated Davis forearm/elbow into Barea's chest. Barea took full advantage and thrust his body to the floor. The incident sparked a stare-down and cuss-out between Davis and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle. It was nothing new for Barea, who has been at the top of the league rankings in drawing charges all season.

No doubt he leads the league in forearm/elbow shoves to the chest. Why? Because bigger, taller, stronger opponents think Barea should be playing pickup games at the Y, and then he annoys the heck out of them.

"No question," Barea said of drawing an inordinate amount of forearm/elbow shoves to the chest. "But, that’s my job. That’s my forte on defense. I like to stay in front and make bigger guys push off."