Matt Barnes/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes told reporters at the Friday morning shootaround he expected to get fined for remarks made to a fan who turned out to be the mother of Houston Rockets’ guard James Harden during Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinals series Wednesday at Toyota Center in Houston.
Sure enough, he was fined $50,000 by the NBA for what it termed inappropriate language.
“We’ve made our peace,” Barnes said, before he was officially fined, of he and Harden’s mother, Monja Willis. “We’ve spoken twice since the incident. She said something, I said something back.”
Barnes said he had heard about some of what he supposedly said.
“I’ve heard speculation as to what I allegedly said, which is crazy,” Barnes said. “Crazy, untrue, crazy. But it is what it is.”
Barnes, who said he received a “tongue-lashing” from Clippers coach Doc Rivers, wouldn’t say what was actually said.
“That’s between her and I,” he said.
Barnes had just received a technical foul late in the first quarter Wednesday after bumping Harden. Barnes said he didn’t know who was chirping at him.
“I had no idea who it was,” he said. “I didn’t find out who it was until I was on the bus. But I saw D.J. (DeAndre Jordan) speak to her at halftime as well and I was like, ‘Who was that?’ He’s like, ‘Jame’s Harden’s mom.’ “I was like, ‘Oh, God, that’s going to make it a hundred times worse.’ I don’t know her, I don’t really know James too well and like I said, we’ve made our peace and we’re focused on winning this game.”
All that said, Barnes – speaking in generalities – doesn’t like the idea that fans can say whatever they want without suffering any repercussions.
“Well, what’s crazy is they can say anything and everything from things about our kids to our wives to anything and we say one thing and they run and tell and next thing you know, I’m proably going to get fined $25,000,” he said, before knowing it was $50,000. “So, I think I heard D.J. say and D-Wade (Dwyane Wade) said it before, you know, we’re human, too. You know what I mean?
“But they can pick and prod us like animals in a cage and run and tell when we respond. So if you don’t want nothing said to you, don’t say nothing to begin
Rivers wouldn’t say what he said to Barnes.
“I’m not going to talk about that much,” he said prior to Friday’s Game 3 tip-off at Staples Center. “I just was not pleased. I made that clear. And I made it clear to Matt and the entire team. So I’m just going to leave it at that.”
Harden talked briefly about the incident at the Rockets’ morning shootaround.
“Any situation where you’re talking about somebody else’s parents, that’s just disrespectful,” Harden said. “I’m focused on Game 3 and we’re very focused and locked in. There will be some great intensity tonight.”