Matt Barnes punches player

Updated: August 9, 2011, 12:39 AM ET
ESPNLosAngeles.com

Apparently Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley wasn't the only NBA player who lost his cool in a summer game Thursday night.

Beasley pushed a heckling fan in the face during a streetball game against Kevin Durant's team in New York, but on the other side of the country, Los Angeles Lakers forward Matt Barnes' victim was another player.

Matt Barnes

Barnes

Barnes reportedly punched an opponent during a San Francisco Pro-Am game Thursday, according to San Francisco's KGO TV.

"He elbowed me and pushed me, so he got one," Barnes told ESPN.com college basketball writer Diamond Leung.

"People just think they can talk any way or do anything to ... me. You can't. You can't do that, 'cause you know people are men out here. So if you think you're going to come out here and punk someone, that s--- ain't happening."

Barnes said that he wasn't the instigator and was just protecting himself.

"That's part of the game, man. It's physical," he said. "You know what I mean? People come out here and think they can beat and push on me. There's only so much I'm going to take. I'm a grown man first, so if you think you're going to come out here and rough me up and cheap-shot, I'm not having that s---."

Barnes wasn't ejected from the game, and eventually hit the game-winning shot.

"They got tangled up," a San Francisco police officer who was in attendance told Leung about the incident involving Barnes. "A couple guys took swings. Both connected. It got broken up. They didn't eject him. Different rules here, I guess."

On Friday, Barnes told Los Angeles' CBS affiliate that he did not throw a punch, saying the incident got "blown out of proportion," describing it as more of a "pushing altercation."

On Monday, the Pro-Am league announced on its Facebook page that Barnes had been suspended.

"Matt Barnes Suspended from Game 1, Monday, of Finals," the Facebook post read.

The good news for the Lakers is that Barnes, who struggled with a knee injury last season, is healthy enough to be playing. He told Andy and Brian Kamenetzky on 710 ESPN that he's "about an 8" on a scale of 1-10.

"(The knee's) starting to come along," he said. "There were some complications that we kind of kept to ourselves on my comeback (during the regular season). I ended up pinching a nerve in my back on the same side as my knee, and it ended up making my knee swell and really hurt. I just couldn't do anything. I was icing constantly and at the same time trying to strengthen it, but if I strengthened it I started to swell. ... We were hoping in the playoffs it would feel better, but it felt even worse.

"We took about 10 weeks off after the season, got all the swelling out, all the pain out, and now we're starting to rebuild it. Everything's feeling a lot better now."

Barnes also said he wasn't considering playing overseas during the NBA lockout, choosing to focus on his recovery instead.

"The lockout is definitely going to give me time to get my knee right," Barnes said. "I'm just going to take the time to get healthy and strengthen my knee, and work on new parts of my game. You never want to be locked out, but at the same time it's almost a blessing right now to give me more time for my knee to heal."

Barnes averaged 6.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in 19.2 minutes over 53 games in 2010-11, his first season with the Lakers.

Information from ESPN.com college basketball writer Diamond Leung and ESPNLosAngeles.com's Andy and Brian Kamenetzky was used in this report.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ALSO SEE

MORE NBA HEADLINES