It’s official: Chris Paul to play, start for Clippers in Game 3

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LOS ANGELES — It was pretty clear after shootaround that Chris Paul’s hamstring was relatively healthy, and he was going to suit up Friday night for the Clippers for the first time in the series against Houston. Before the game, Clippers coach Doc Rivers made it official.

“He’s definitely playing,” Rivers said before Game 3 tipped off, confirming what CP3 had told his teammates earlier in the day. “Minute wise we are definitely going to restrict his minutes. A lot of it will be visually (how he looks), but we will restrict his minutes for sure.”

Rivers said expect closer to 20 minutes than 40 for Paul on Friday night.

Rivers added that they pushed Paul in workouts the last couple days, making it him come off picks, and try to simulate game action as best as they could.

“He had a good workout,” Rivers said. “He probably got his confidence sky high because we had Sam Cassell workout with him. My guess is he scored every time, just like in Sam’s playing days.”

Paul injured his hamstring late in the first quarter of Game 7 against the Spurs. Paul went to the locker room but came back out and gutted out a fantastic performance, a game that will be part of his legacy including hitting the game winner over the outstretched arm of Tim Duncan.

But once the hamstring strain tightened up the next day Paul was sidelined. He sat out Game 1, an upset Clipper win in Houston, which set the stage for CP3 to rest game 2.

In Game 3, Rivers doesn’t want Paul to hold back.

“I don’t want him to hold back, you can’t nurse anything,” Rivers said. “Obviously you have to be smart with it, but you just have to go play. You know that team we’re playing? They don’t care. They really don’t. They don’t care what we have; they are going to attack no matter what we have. So if you’re going to go out on the field, or the wood, or whatever we call the court, you have to be ready to play.”

He said the goal is to have both Paul and Blake Griffin facilitate the offense.

Matt Barnes fined $50K for directing inappropriate language at James Harden’s mother


Matt Barnes has been fined $50,000 for “directing inappropriate language at a fan,” the league announced on Friday via official release.

That “fan” happened to be James Harden’s mother.

Barnes reportedly told the woman “S— my d—, b—-” and later apologized after he found out who the woman was.

The reason for the fine being so steep is Barnes’ repeat-offender status.

Barnes was fined $25,000 in December for swearing at Washington fans and another $25,000 in January for doing the same to Phoenix fans (not Suns owner Robert Sarver, according to the league).

The fines are minuscule when compared to the salary of even the most modestly-paid NBA players, so don’t expect Barnes to change his behavior as a result of them anytime soon.

Report: Rockets told on Matt Barnes to NBA


Matt Barnes talked trash to James Harden’s mom.

Barnes apologized, but that didn’t stop the Rockets from going to the NBA – about both games in Houston.

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

A source told ESPN that the Rockets informed the NBA about Barnes’ verbal exchanges with fans in both games of the series.

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Barnes was fined $25,000 in December for swearing at Washington fans and another $25,000 in January for doing the same to Phoenix fans (not Suns owner Robert Sarver, according to the league).

I’m sure the NBA will look into this, and I doubt Barnes gets the benefit of the doubt. Watch for another $25,000 fine, or maybe more due to his repeat-offender status.

James Harden’s mom says Matt Barnes apologized for his Game 2 trash talk


After the Rockets’ Wednesday night victory over the Clippers in Game 2 of their second-round series, word got out that Clippers forward Matt Barnes said something not very nice to James Harden’s mother during the game.

Now, Harden’s mom confirmed the story and adds that Barnes apologized to her. She didn’t reveal what exactly Barnes said to her, but clearly it was bad enough that Barnes felt the need to apologize for it.

From TMZ:

Monja Willis wouldn’t tell us exactly what Barnes said to her at the Toyota Center in Houston during Game 2 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals … saying, “We’ll leave that on the court.”

What we do know … Matt’s comment really pissed off one of Monja’s other sons — who was sitting next to her during the game and heard it … and confronted Barnes after the final buzzer.

Willis tells us … “My older son walked over to him and told him to apologize … and he did.”

Monja says, “What he told me was that he would never want to disrespect anyone’s mother because his mother passed from cancer … and that he was sorry.”

“I accept his apology.”

If she’s happy with the apology, everyone else can be too. Game 3 on Friday should have plenty of drama.

Report: Matt Barnes talked trash to James Harden’s mom during Game 2


James Harden scored 20 second-half points as the Rockets overcame a 13-point deficit to beat the Clippers in Game 2.

What got him going?

Maybe Matt Barnes.

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Tied 1-1, this series could be getting good. I’m really looking forward to Game 4 – on Mother’s Day.