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J.J. Barea ranks among NBA's best pests

3/30/2011

LOS ANGELES – The most memorable moment from the last Clippers-Mavs meeting was a heated argument between Baron Davis and Rick Carlisle that featured the classic line, “Go have some lunch!”

Those two won’t go another round tonight, as Davis was shipped to Cleveland before the trade deadline. But it’s a pretty good bet that the instigator of that scene will get under somebody’s skin again.

That would be J.J. Barea, who ruffled Davis’ feathers by drawing an offensive foul near midcourt. As Barea often does, he made sure the referee noticed Davis’ push-off, reacting in animated fashion by flailing his arms and falling back.

“They think they’re bigger than me, so they really push off and I take advantage,” Barea said. “And I make sure the officials see it. Sometimes I scream, sometimes I look at them in the eye when I’m falling back. It works out.”

It’s worked out for 46 offensive fouls drawn this season, which ranks Barea fourth in the NBA in that category. He finished in the top five each of the last two seasons, too.

He’s just one of the NBA’s best pests.

Unlike most offensive fouls, the ones drawn by Barea are usually pain-free, although he has taken a few elbows upside the head. The vast majority of the calls are made because opposing point guards push him away like he’s an annoying little brother.

“He gets in position, and for whatever reason, because he’s a little bit smaller guy, guys tend to shove him off,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “When they do that, that’s a foul. He does a good job of being in position to take it.

“So often, they’re momentum-changing plays or game-defining plays. They’re generally big plays when they happen.”