After missing the first seven exhibition games recovering from a sore left calf, Matt Barnes said Thursday he planned on practicing later that day and playing Friday night against the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center.
Barnes hasn’t gotten in a full practice since he was injured about three weeks ago during the Clippers’ training camp in La Jolla.
He said it was going to be important for him to see how his running and endurance would be at practice before deciding to play in his first game of the season.
“If everything goes well,” Barnes said Thursday, “I should be playing tomorrow.”
Barnes, a small forward, is an important part of the Clippers’ second team.
He is a really good defender, he cuts really well without the basketball and he is tough-minded.
“It’s been frustrating, but also educational to really see where I can have an effect on that second unit,” Barnes said. “Our second still doesn’t have an identity. I think just sitting back watching these last six games, I really see where I can help filling voids and really be that voice for that second unit to get us to do what we need to do offensively and defensively.”
Barnes, who played two seasons with the Lakers before joining the Clippers last season, said he could understand why Lakers’ fans would be make a big deal out of Clippers Coach Doc Rivers' covering up the Lakers’ championship banners and retired jerseys with those of the Clippers players.
Barnes said it was done because it is the Clippers’ home game when they play at Staples Center, which they share with the Lakers.
But he also wanted to point something out.
“No one from that [Lakers’] team should have something to say unless it’s Kobe [Bryant] or Pau [Gasol] because they’re the ones who put the banners up in the organization,” Barnes said. “Any new players should have zero to say about that.”
Barnes was referring to first-year Lakers forward Nick Young, who said it was “disrespectful” for the Clippers to cover up the Lakers’ banners. Young also spent part of the 2012 season with the Clippers after he was traded from the Washington Wizards.
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