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Barnes Fires Back at Kobe, Odom

Mar 8, 2010 – 4:30 PM
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Tim Povtak

Tim Povtak %BloggerTitle%

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Lakers are long gone, but Matt Barnes and the Orlando Magic gave them one more parting shot Monday, just in case they happen to meet again in an NBA Finals rematch.

"They aren't going to come in here and punk us,'' Barnes said after practice Monday, still steaming over some of the perceived arrogance the Lakers showed in defeat Sunday.

Barnes said Monday that Kobe Bryant and the Lakers -- defending NBA champs -- are getting an unfair advantage from the officials, based on their reputation.

Bryant and Barnes mixed it up several times, both verbally and physically, in the second half of the Magic's victory Sunday. They received double technical fouls at the start of the third period when they first clashed.

"If (Bryant's) going to throw elbows, I'm not just going to let him do it.''
-- Matt Barnes
"I have no problem playing physical, but throughout the game, he (Bryant) elbowed me three times. If I did that, I would have been kicked out,'' Barnes said. "(Pau) Gasol takes a swing at Dwight (Howard). If we do that kind of stuff, we get kicked out, suspended. He (Bryant) is the best player. He gets to do whatever he wants. It is what it is.''

Barnes made it clear Monday that he considers Bryant the "best player in the world.'' Yet he also said he never would concede anything to him on the court.

"If he's going to throw elbows, I'm not just going to let him do it,'' Barnes said. "Kobe is a killer. He has that killer instinct. If you let him mentally get to you, you don't have a chance.''

Bryant Sunday had 34 points, yet he missed the potential game-tying jump shot from 20 feet just before time expired. It was Lamar Odom, though, with eight points and six rebounds who was poking fun at Barnes after the game. He compared Barnes and his physical style of play to former professional wrestler Ric Flair.

"I'm not going to sit here and get into a name-calling battle with someone. The Lakers are where we want to go,'' Barnes said. "If that's what you do when you get to top, that's what you do, talk crap. It doesn't matter to me. We're going to be there at the end."
Filed under: Sports