Barnes and Odom set to play former team

November, 1, 2012
11/01/12
4:34
PM PT
PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Clippers' Matt Barnes was busy Wednesday night even though the NBA suspended him for the season opener for pleading no contest last month to a misdemeanor for resisting, delaying or obstructing a police officer.

While the Clippers were beating the Memphis Grizzlies, 101-92, Barnes was busy with his 4-year-old sons, Isaiah and Carter.

"I took my kids trick or treating," Barnes said. "Everyone was looking at me like, 'Why aren't you playing?' And I had to explain to a couple of people why I was trick or treating with my kids. Then we came home and watched the game and I met with my teammates after the game and we had a Halloween celebration."

Barnes and his wife, Gloria Govan, hosted a Halloween party across from Staples Center after the game. The party was attended by most of the Clippers, who came dressed as Men in Black. Snoop Dogg, who came as Snoop Lion, gave a live performance.

The fact Barnes was unable to play in the season opener still upset him 24 hours later. After being suspended he tweeted, "My suspension handed down by the NBA 2day is a #JOKE, but best of luck 2 my team 2maro vs a tough Memphis team & ill be ready for Friday vs Lakers."

Barnes bit his tongue when he was asked about the suspension Thursday after practice.

"It did surprise me," Barnes said. "I really don't want to get into it. (The NBA) probably wants to suspend me again. I did my time and I'm looking forward to Friday."

After sitting out Wednesday, Barnes was looking forward to facing the Los Angeles Lakers, his former team, in his first game of the regular season.

"Any time you play your former team it's a little more edgy and a little more touchy," Barnes said. "So I'm going to be out there in the mix."

Barnes is one of four former Lakers on the Clippers (not counting Chris Paul, who was nearly traded to the Lakers last season). He joined the team, along with Lamar Odom and Ronny Turiaf in the offseason. Caron Butler, who was traded to the Lakers along with Odom in 2004 for Shaquille O'Neal, signed with the Clippers last season.

"I've been away for a year so I've had time to adjust," said Odom, who was actually traded from the Lakers to the Dallas Mavericks last December. "Any game I play against my big brother I want to win. I've learned that from him."

Odom was speaking of Kobe Bryant, who said it was "amusing" that so many of his former Lakers teammates were now with the Clippers. Odom has continued to tap into his experiences with the Lakers and the lessons he learned from Bryant and Derek Fisher when now talking to his Clippers teammates. He even took a page out of Phil Jackson's playbook and will be placing a book in every one of his teammates' lockers before Friday's game.

"There's a book I'm going to get for those guys tomorrow," Odom said. "I won't tell you what the book is, but it helps set goals. You need something to look up to even if you don't want to admit that you do. You need something to reach for. The goal is to help start this tradition and to be able to change the way the teams and the players and the organization is looked at."

Odom said the book's message is not only important but having everyone on the team go through reading the book at the same time is just as important.

"To be on the same page and the same wave length is important," Odom said. "Whether you're mediating or you're talking or reading the same book, it helps; or when you pray together like we do here before the games. It helps mentally for everybody to be on the same page. It's important. A family that eats together and prays together stays together."

Arash Markazi

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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