Tonight’s pivotal Game 3 of the Western Conference semi-finals could be another opportunity for Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea to shine.

José Juan Barea, from Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, shredded the Los Angeles Lakers in the 4th Quarter of Game 2; coming off the bench to chip in 12 points and 4 assists. His play helped seal the Mavs 93-81 victory and gave the team a 2-0 series lead.

Not bad for a guy who recently told Dallas radio station 105.3-FM The Fan, that he still has to convince people he actually plays in the NBA.

“It happens to me all the time, trust me. It happens to me when I meet my teammates' friends … or I'm with my agent and he introduces me and he goes, 'Hey, this is one of my players, ” Barea said. “I get stuff like that all the time.”

But that can also be a good thing for the smallest man on the Mavericks roster.

“I can go wherever I want, ” the 6-foot Barea added. “Unless I’m in Puerto Rico, it's different, really different … but over here in the States, I can go wherever. I love it.”

If Barea’s play continues to heat up and the Mavs knock the defending NBA champions out of the playoffs, Barea could become a new face for the franchise.

That’s not a knock on perennial All Star Dirk Nowitzki, who knows the series with the Lakers is far from over.

“It’s a great spot for us to be in. But with their length and how they play and they have the best player in the league, they can win on the road, ” Nowitzki said. “They’ve shown it’s no problem.”

Kris Gutierrez is a general news reporter for the Fox News Channel based out of the Dallas Bureau.

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