Clips' Matt Barnes apologizes, fined
More on Matt Barnes
The Clippers' Matt Barnes is painfully aware of the force and ugliness of the epithet he tweeted Wednesday, Ramona Shelburne writes. Commentary
A night that began as a matchup between two potential West finalists somehow turned into a referendum on toughness, J.A. Adande writes. Dime
Those actions cost Barnes $25,000 on Thursday as the NBA fined him for failing to leave the court in a timely manner and using inappropriate language on Twitter.
Barnes and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka were ejected with 6.2 seconds left in the second quarter after Ibaka and Clippers forward Blake Griffin got tangled up as Griffin tried to put up a shot. It looked like Ibaka had pushed Griffin, and Barnes shoved Ibaka hard in the chest. Players from both teams had to restrain Barnes and Ibaka from each other as Ibaka cocked his right fist as if to throw a punch while Barnes continued jawing with him.
Griffin was assessed a technical foul.
During the third quarter, Barnes tweeted, "I love my teammates like family, but I'm DONE standing up for these n---as! All this s--- does is cost me money. …" The tweet was later deleted.
On Thursday, Barnes' Twitter account had seven postings apologizing. He started by saying:
Barnes continued by tweeting: "Not only on the court, but off.. I was completely wrong for pushing Ibaka & then for what I tweeted following the altercation." He added: "I've been doing this for to long to let my emotions get the best of me.. My poor choice of words & timing do not reflect who or what I am about.. It was very selfish on my part to make this situation about me instead of my teammates that fought their hearts out & earned a big win against a tough okc team."
Barnes added that he could have taken the easy way out and said his Twitter account was hacked, but "that's not what I'm about, I except full responsibility for all my inappropriate action last night & I am truly sorry!"
My bad *accept*— Matt Barnes (@Matt_Barnes22) November 14, 2013
After the game, Clippers coach Doc Rivers was asked to assess Barnes' initial tweet.
"I think he's very emotional and down that he got thrown out," he said. "I get that part, but the choice of words, obviously that's not a word I'm a fan of in all venues."
This isn't the first time Griffin and Ibaka have been involved in an altercation. Last season, Ibaka hit Griffin below the waist and the two had to be separated. Ibaka wasn't ejected or suspended but was fined $25,000 after the incident.
Barnes' teammates came to his defense after the Clippers' 111-103 win Wednesday.
"One of the best teammates I've ever had," said Chris Paul, who hadn't seen the tweet. "Matt has a big heart. He goes out there and competes every night. Not scared of nothing."
"We appreciate what Matt does for us, and he's a great teammate," Griffin said. "We've got his back, and he's got ours."
Jared Dudley said he would have done the same thing for Barnes but added that his teammate needs to exercise better restraint.
"He's a really tough guy, and sometimes he wants that [from] everybody," Dudley said. "It goes both ways. We've got to be a little bit tougher, and he's got to be a little bit smarter."
Barnes has been suspended four times since 2008 for on-court incidents. He has also been fined a number of times. His latest suspension came in February when he received a one-game ban for striking then-Minnesota Timberwolves center Greg Stiemsma in the neck.
Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Arash Markazi and The Associated Press was used in this report.