Well J.J. if you didn't just go out and put up 17 points and 13 assists. Hmm. That's a pretty nice line.
Along with outstanding performances by Al-Farouq Aminu (16 pts, 12 rebounds) and Monta Ellis (31 points), J.J. Barea was the highlight of the Mavs critical Game 4 win Sunday night against the Houston Rockets. Funny thing, 17 points and 13 assists would have been exactly the type of box score line we would have hoped to get from Rajon Rondo, if we had not been abruptly awoken from our dream of his being a good fit in Dallas. And while we wish Rondo all the best moving forward and a good fit in his next opportunity (no grudges held here), the box score line J.J. Barea put up Sunday night came with nothing but positive energy and no undercurrent of tension whatsover. Somehow Rick Carlisle and J.J. seem to be able to mesh pretty well.
Simply put J.J. Barea was outstanding, and gave the Mavs exactly what they needed from their point guard in Sunday's game. While it has been said before that J.J. Barea is not a 30 minute starting point guard and is more suited to bring energy off the bench, he sure looked like a 30 minute (36 minutes to be exact) starting point guard Sunday night. His 17 points were accomplished on 7-15 shooting (2-6 on 3's) and while he did have 5 fouls, he certainly seemed to do a decent job defensively (Rocket PG's Jason Terry and Pablo Prigioni together scored a total of 3 points in a combined 41 minutes of play).
Funny thing, J.J. has a bit of history being a pretty outstanding playoff point guard. A certain game 4 against the Lakers during the playoff run of the 2011 (when the Mavs wound up Champs!) comes to mind. Barea sliced up the Lakers for 22 points and 8 assists in 26 minutes of that game. Or the deciding game 6 in the 2011 championship series against Miami when Mr. Barea had 15 points and 5 assists on 7-12 shooting in 30 minutes.
The guy just comes to play in big games, and is not intimidated. So though the December trade for Rondo seemed like the big turning point for the Mavs, it may have been the much less heralded signing of an old friend back in October that winds up being the Mavs more impacting move, and it definitely was for Game 4. If the Mavs are to have any chance of accomplishing the first ever comeback from being down 0-3 in a playoff series in NBA History, it may have a lot to do with a certain point guard whose name does not happen to be Rondo.
Owner and Senior Guitar Instructor at Creative Guitar Learning