One of the things the Lakers said they liked about Matt Barnes when they got him — he brings a fire to the court.
The Lakers could get burned, too. Especially if something like this were to happen again — Barnes slapping the assistant coach of another team.
Like a lot of NBAers, Barnes plays in some summer leagues, in this case the Bay Area Pro-Am Summer Basketball League at Kezar Pavilion. Sports by Brooks had the story and spoke to Rasheed Malek of WarriorsWorld.net, who was at the game.
Shockingly, Barnes disagreed with a call against him (see, he’ll fit in perfect as a Laker). We’ll let Malek take it from there.
Barnes engaged the referee into conversation directly in front of the opposing team’s Head Coach and Assistant Coach. While talking to the referee, Barnes begins to get heckled by SF City assistant head coach, Rick Lewis. Lewis was saying things like “stop your crying, you’re in the NBA, stop crying” and other remarks which were an attempt to antagonize and get under Barnes skin.
Barnes finally stepped towards Lewis and got in his face and they exchanged pleasantries, Barnes walked away but Lewis was still chirping so Barnes came back and got in his face at which point Barnes gave Lewis a slap on the face.
Now, it was more of a “lovetap” than anything malicious, he didn’t wind up or put force behind it. Soon as it happened, the referee’s came over, Barnes coaching staff ran over and the situation kind of fizzled itself out.
Amazingly, Barnes was not ejected, he played out the game.
With forceful personalities like Kobe and Derek Fisher around him, Barnes will not pull this kind of stunt during the regular season.
But I would love to see what would happen if he gave Patrick Ewing a love tap.