Hoops Roundup (NBA Edition): News & Notes On Bruin Ballers

DC deservedly has been getting all the headlines in recent weeks among the group of Bruins alums balling in the NBA. Thought today would be a good day to check in with some news and notes concerning some other Bruins who are also making their marks in the Association.

Let's start with Matt Barnes. It's his birthday today. Happy Birthday from BN Matt. Anyway, the former Bruin who played during lost era of UCLA basketball has carved out a pretty good career in the NBA through his hard work. He never got the coaching he deserved in college but through his sheer dedication he was able to put himself in position to get drafted into the NBA and now has emerged as one of the tougher characters in NBA. Anyway, Matt has been a hot topic in last few days after what transpired during Magic's huge weekend victory over the Lakers. Wanted to talk about it a bit more on the home page because it's clear that Barnes has emerged with a huge role in this championship contending squad.

Initially I only watched the last 5 minutes of that Lakers-Magic game. So needless I was more than excited to see when Barnes Ded up Kobe and then went on the other hand to knock down a huge 3. I hadn't seen the skirmish between those two until later that evening. I didn't think the shots Barnes took against Kobe were the worst thing ever that some Laker fans made it out to be.  Frankly Kobe himself can be bit of a punk (makes sense considering his Trogan colors). He just happens to be a superstar. Anyway, going back to Barnes, the Magic are excited about infusion of "Matt-sysical" energy into their lineup:

"Did I like seeing, what, physical play?" the center [Dwight Howard] said. "Matt plays physical every day. Every game, Matt is a physical baller. That's what he does, he brings physicality to the game. Physi-cality. Matt and physical go together ... Matt-sysical."

While Howard was busy creating characters and making up words, Barnes created a wrinkle to Orlando's identity that the Magic's gentle giant goofball hasn't been able to provide in his six seasons with the team and probably never will: a mean streak.

Barnes, known primarily as a shooter in the first six years of his career with six different teams, is in his first season with Orlando after signing a two-year deal last summer for a scant $1.6 million per season. But it was his defense that made you wonder how different last year's Finals could have been if the Magic had him on the floor rattling the Mamba's cage.

While Bryant scored 34 points Sunday, he shot just 12-for-30 from the field in doing so, the last of those misses coming with 1.2 seconds left from 20 feet out over Barnes' outstretched arms.

I am rooting for Barnes all the way. It was the reaction of Lamar Odom that I thought was kind of telling:

After the game, a pack of reporters asked Artest, the Lakers' resident expert on defense, what he thought about Barnes' efforts versus Bryant. Lamar Odom, who was changing at a nearby locker, heard Barnes' name come up and shouted to nobody in particular that Barnes was a "monkey" and added, "He picked the right game to act tough."

"[Barnes] was an action figure today," Odom said, this time directly to the media several minutes later after he was dressed. "He was really involved and really into the game. It's too bad we are not going to see him again [in the regular season]."

Odom's comments dripped of sarcasm and he wasn't done there, later saying Barnes didn't accomplish anything but that he got the crowd into the game.

"Ric Flair does the same thing," Odom said. "He had his wrestling gear on today. All he needed was, like, a cape and tights."

It's kind of hilarious for Odom to make fun of other players for giving effort and energy because for the majority of his career he came across to me as ultimate caricature of NBA: overpaid and overhyped NBA athletes who excel in one on one street ball by giving mediocre effort on average nights. If I were a Laker fan, I'd stop getting worked up over Barnes and keep wondering how their own team can show the same toughness instead of getting usual dose of weak sauce from Luke Walton and Sasha Vujacic.

Anyway, the pathetic comments from Odom is just another one of many reasons I don't find this Laker team endearing the way so many of us were emotionally vested in the teams under Magic and Kareem. I will not be shedding any tears if these guys go on to choke later this spring. It would be awesome if that choke job happens thanks to either AA or Matt Barnes.

Moving on to other Bruins, KL is dreaming about those long bombs he used to throw at Pauley:

Kevin Love flashed back Saturday to his UCLA days. Or maybe even earlier.

"My parents never let me play football," the Wolves forward said, "and I always wanted to be a quarterback."

It shows. Love, who built a reputation with the Bruins for length-of-the-floor outlet passes, had not displayed his unusual skill much this season -- until Saturday. Love fired five passes of 50 feet or longer from under the Wolves basket and completed three of them for easy scores, a success rate that Brett Favre would appreciate.

"I've told the coaches, I've told the front office, that we need to engage that a little more," said Love, who made long connections with Ryan Hollins and Damien Wilkins for breakaway dunks, and Ramon Sessions for a layup. "It loses [the opponent] a rebounder if they want to get back, or if they crash the boards, it's going to be tough for them to get back.

Wish the Timberwolves were on a little more on national TV. I'd definitely make an effort to watch KL throwing those bombs.

Now a number of KL bombs from UCLA days went to none other than LRMAM, who is having a lot of fun at the next level. Luuuuuc has already carved out a solid role for him as a starter for the Milwaukee Bucks. He has also emerged as an avid Twitterer.  Caught him yesterday tweeting this:

let all the bruins know the "Moute kicks Boute" shirts are back they can get it at www.mbahamoute12.com

So you heard the dude. I already ordered mine by going right here.

Lastly, if you are in Los Angles and want to celebrate a Bruin leading an NBA team don't forget about the Clippers:

Steve Perrin from SBN's Clips Nation is organizing a get together on April 10th with members of his community. He wanted to make sure to extend that invitation to all the Clipper fans from BN (I am sure there are few). So if you are one or if you enjoy watching the Boom Dizzle, then head over to CN.

GO BRUINS.

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