Matt Barnes placed his arms behind his back and leaned against a wall early Friday at the Clippers’ training facility, knowing a fine from the NBA was coming for the rude comments he directed at Houston guard James Harden’s mom, Monja Willis, in Game 2 in Houston on Wednesday night.
Barnes incorrectly assumed he was “probably going to get fined $25,000,” but the league doubled that estimate to $50,000 to hold him accountable for “directing inappropriate language at a fan.”
Barnes said he has talked with Willis since the story broke about the disparaging comments he made while she sat courtside at the Toyota Center.
“We’ve made our peace,” Barnes said. “We’ve spoken twice since the incident. She said something, I said something back. I’ve heard speculation of what I’ve likely said, which is crazy.”
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers clearly was upset with Barnes and let his small forward know about it during a talk Rivers had with the team.
Rivers said the team didn’t discipline Barnes.
“I was not pleased,” Rivers said. “I made that clear. And I made it clear to Matt and the entire team.”
Before the Clippers played the Rockets in Game 3 of the best-of-seven semifinals series at Staples Center, Harden voiced his displeasure with Barnes.
“Any situation where you’re talking about somebody’s parents, that’s just disrespectful,” Harden told reporters.
This season alone, Barnes has been fined $25,000 by the NBA in January for kicking water and directing profane language at a fan during a Clippers game at the Washington Wizards and the same amount later in the month for directing inappropriate language toward Phoenix owner Robert Sarver.
In light of all his fines and run-in with fans, Barnes was asked whether it was best to ignore fans no matter what they say to him.
“What’s crazy is that they can say anything and everything — to our kids, to our wives, anything,” Barnes said. “And we say one thing and they run and tell and the next thing I know I’m probably going to get fined $25,000. I think I heard DJ [DeAndre Jordan] and D-Wade [Dwyane Wade] say it before, we’re human too. But they can take and prod us like animals in a cage and run and tell when we respond. So if you don’t want anything said to you, don’t say nothing to begin with.”
Barnes said he was unaware that Willis was the mother of Harden until Jordan told Barnes while they were on the team bus after the game.
Barnes then realized it wasn’t a good situation.
“I was like, ‘Ugh, God! That’s going to make it 100 times worse.’ I don’t know her,” Barnes said. “I don’t really know James too well. Like I said, we’ve made our peace.”