Barnes apologizes for tussle, tweet
Matt Barnes wants to take it all back.
The Clippers forward has apologized for his actions during and after L.A.'s matchup Wednesday night with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Barnes and Thunder center Serge Ibaka were both ejected just before halftime for getting involved in a scuffle.
After his ejection, Barnes took to social media, using a derogatory term and profanity in a tweet that seemed to suggest frustation with his own teammates. The tweet was later deleted:
On Thursday morning, Barnes apologized in a series of tweets about the incident, saying he "was completely wrong" and accepted "full responsibility" for his actions. The Clippers fined him $25,000 "for failing to leave the court in a timely manner upon his ejection and using inappropriate language on his Twitter account during the game following his ejection, in violation of NBA rules":
Not only on the court, but off.. I was completely wrong for pushing Ibaka & then for what I tweeted following the altercation.. "Cont"— Matt Barnes (@Matt_Barnes22) November 14, 2013
But that's not what I'm about, I except full responsibility for all my inappropriate action last night & I am truly sorry!— Matt Barnes (@Matt_Barnes22) November 14, 2013
The controversy overshadowed what was a possible preview of the Western Conference Finals between the Clippers and the Thunder, and the matchup on the court didn't disappoint.
But the highlight wasn't a Durant dagger, a DeAndre dunk or a game-winning 3 by CP3. It was watching the heavyweight matchup turn into a WWE match.
It all started with another dust-up between Blake Griffin and Ibaka after the two got their arms tangled. That's when Barnes flew in with a shove to Ibaka's chest.
Maybe it was a make-up call for last season's low blow on Griffin, which got Ibaka a flagrant foul but no ejection.
Give Barnes the game ball: Ibaka was 6-for-6 for 13 points when he was ejected, while Barnes was 0-for-5. More importantly, the Clippers trailed 58-52. Without Ibaka on the court in the second half, the Clips rallied to a 111-103 win.
Barnes exited the floor, grabbing his twin boys from out of the crowd and taking them back to the locker room. He later posted the tweet that got him in trouble.
It's unclear what effect Barnes' tweet will have on his teammates. Chris Paul, the Clippers' star point guard, told FOX Sports West that he hadn’t read Barnes' original tweet, but he questioned whether the willingness to fight could be compared to a team's toughness.
"I think sometimes toughness can be mistaken for a form of fighting," he told the site. "But toughness ultimately comes down to basketball. Toughness is on the court. At the end of the day, ain't nobody holding the world championship belt."
The question for Barnes and the Clippers may be this: If he's balking at jumping in the middle of these things and taking one for the team, then what's his function? The Clippers ain't payin' him to shoot 34 percent.
Is he saying his teammates can't stand up for themselves? Especially against a guy who dresses like this?
OK, that was for Halloween. But Russell Westbrook dresses like that daily.