Matt Barnes on incident with James Harden's mom: 'We've made our peace'
Matt Barnes is making news for something he said yet again.
The 35-year-old Clippers forward said something to James Harden's mother, Monja Willis, during the first half of the Houston Rockets' Game 2 win at the Toyota Center.
Barnes confirmed that he apologized to Willis twice.
"We've made our peace," Barnes said after the Clippers' shootaround before Game 3 on Friday. "We've spoken twice since the incident. She said something. I said something back. I've heard speculation about what I allegedly said, which is crazy."
Asked if a report about what he said was untrue, Barnes said: "It's crazy. Untrue. Crazy. It is what it is. They're trying to start controversy. She said something. I said something back. I spoke to her at halftime and after the game. We're fine."
Barnes wouldn't say what he said to Willis.
"That's between her and I," Barnes said.
However, it's now between Barnes and the NBA since the incident was reported. Barnes already has heard from the NBA, and he said he expects to be fined.
"I got a text message," Barnes said. "I'm supposed to call them after practice. I'm sure they want some of my check."
Harden told reporters at the Rockets' shootaround Friday morning that Barnes comments were "disrespectful."
"In any situation you talk about somebody's parents that's just disrespectful," Harden said. "But I'm focused on Game 3. We're very focused. We're locked in. There's going to be some great intensity.
"... I'm not really focused on that. I'm focused on Game 3. Hopefully, we go out and compete and get a victory on the road."
Barnes has given plenty of his checks for fines over the years and has had several incidents this season.
He had a verbal exchange with Suns owner Robert Sarver in Phoenix, resulting in a $25,000 fine. He kicked a Gatorade cup toward a fan in Washington in March and got fined $25,000. There was also an incident in which Floyd Mayweather started trash-talking Barnes from his courtside seat at Staples Center, and Barnes engaged in trash-talking back and made a gesture toward Mayweather during the game.
He also spit on the court in San Antonio in the Western Conference first round of the playoffs, which was caught on television, but teammate Ekpe Udoh immediately threw a towel over it and cleaned it up. Barnes wasn't fined for that.
And then there have been all the technical fouls. Matt Barnes has 14 technical fouls this season. Only Russell Westbrook, Markieff Morris and DeMarcus Cousins have been whistled for more technical fouls.
Barnes fouled Harden in Game 2, then bumped him as Harden was on his way to the free-throw line, which earned him a technical foul.
Barnes said he didn't know the woman he engaged in trash-talk with was Harden's mother.
"I didn't have any idea of who it was," Barnes said. "I didn't find out who it was until I was on the bus. I saw D.J. (DeAndre Jordan) speak to her at halftime as well. I said, 'who's that?' He said, 'James' mother.' I was like, 'Oh, that's going to make it 100 times worse. I don't know her. I don't really know James too well. We've made our peace. We're focused on winning this game."
Barnes will have to focus on basketball and not engaging in verbal sparring with fans. He likely won't have that problem for Games 3 and 4, which are Friday and Sunday, at Staples Center.
"What's crazy is they can say anything and everything from anything about our kids to our wives to anything," Barnes said. "We say one thing and they run and tell. Next thing you know I'm probably going to get fined $25,000. I think I heard DJ say it and D-Wade said it too, we're human too. They can pick and prod us like animals in a cage and run and tell and we respond. If you don't want anything said to you, don't say anything."
Barnes talked about the incident with reporters but didn't want to go into details about what was said. Doc Rivers, who has preached about his team trying to control its emotions better in the postseason while still playing with emotion, talked to Barnes about the exchange on Friday morning as well.
"What I said was said, what she said was said. Doesn't matter what was said," Barnes said. "We both said something. I got a tongue-lashing from Doc this morning. We've made our peace. I'm ready to play basketball. If we're not going to talk about basketball (now), I'm going to get in the car and go home."