Matt Barnes details – and I mean details – his multi-day argument with Doc Rivers on Clippers

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The Lob City Clippers had plenty of chemistry issues.

Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan seemed to dislike each other at different points. Doc Rivers acquiring and giving a big contract to his son, Austin Rivers, created complications – particularly with Jamal Crawford.

But tension spread beyond those mainstays.

What went wrong between Doc Rivers and Matt Barnes?

Barnes on All The Smoke:

We had just lost to Golden State in Golden State. They beat our ass. And Blake and D.J. didn’t have the best games.

But for some reason, just that day, he wanted to go at me in the film room.

And I’m someone, you can coach me, you can yell at me. You can do whatever you want. You’re just not going to disrespect me as a man. That’s where I don’t give a f— who you are. That’s where I draw the line.

So, he got mad at the two shots I took. I took two shots in the game. He complained off both. Like, I had a corner 3 that I shot that I should have passed to Blake when he was cutting down the middle. And then I had another 3-pointer that I should have gave to Jamal. I’m just looking at this like, “Motherf—er, I took two shots, and we lost by 30. What the f— are you talking about?” You know what I mean? So, it was just a situation. It was kind of weird. And then he came at me for something.

I’m just like, “Yo, man. F— this.” So, I got up, and everyone in the room is like, [gasp]. Because I remember, D.J. was sitting next to me. He like patted me on the leg like a little dog to keep me calm or something.

Lou Williams:

Which is funny, because D.J. is a f—ing maniac in film sessions.

Barnes:

It came from us, though. Because D.J. didn’t used to be that way.

I got up, and everyone is like, “Oh, s—.” They’re like, “Chill, chill.” So, I walked, you know, out of the film room. I’m in the corner, and you’ve got to walk past the coaches to get out. So, I just – man, I just got up, and I was heated. So, I walked out of the room.

And then I went in the back, and I was like, f— it, I’m just going to go home. I’m just like, nah, I can’t. I can’t let my team down like that. So, I saw on the TV that we were done with film, and they’re out on the court stretching.

So, I went back out on the court, start stretching, mad as f—, not saying nothing to nobody. And this motherf—er comes over to me and tells me to flip my jersey over and he’s going to put Jamal with the starters and put me on the second team. So, I look at him, and I took my jersey off, and I threw it. He’s like, “Put your jersey back on.” I’m like, “These motherf—ers know what team I’m on.” So, I didn’t have no jersey the whole practice. Went out hard, killed in practice.

I was on one. See, I think Doc was on one, too.

Lou Williams:

Doc, he like that s—.

Barnes:

He didn’t like what almost happened to him.

So, then, went hard in practice. Some of the coaches came up and talked to me. You know, “Sorry.” It was this, this and that. Trying to diffuse the situation.

Doc is a players’ coach. He understands that, because he’s a former player.

Williams:

You on edge, so I’m on edge too.

Barnes:

Right.

So, I go home. We play Portland early the next day. And I can’t sleep the whole night. And I had stopped smoking, too, for a little bit. So, that night, I started chain smoking. Probably smoked like three or four joints that night. Mad as f—. Couldn’t sleep.

Got to the gym early as f—. Started shooting. We went to shootaround, and right when we brought it in, and I just told Doc, I was like, “You can coach me. You can yell at me. You can do whatever. Just don’t disrespect me as a man.” And then he said his part, and it kind of started getting heated. He’s like, “You think you’re tough, huh?” I’m like, “What?” So, it go super – he almost was trying to poke me.

So, it chilled out. We went through shootaround, and then we went back in the locker room to watch film after shootaround, and Mike Woodson tried to say something slick. And I was like, “Mike, don’t start. You can get it, too.” You know what I mean?

So, everyone calmed down, and then Doc said some more s— to me and then stormed off to his office. So, I stormed after him in his office, and everyone tried to pull me back. And we sat down and had a little conversation. But it was just a little heated back-and-forth.

Looking back, I f— with Doc. You know what I mean? I was going through a divorce at the time. So, I was kind of on edge. He was going through whatever he was going through. So, he was kind of on edge. So, we talked, obviously talked, and made amends. But, like you said, he is someone that you can go back back at, and you’ve got to respect that. Because a lot of coaches you yell at, you cuss at, and that’s it.

A few things:

  • Barnes appears to be talking about this Nov. 5, 2014 game. He shot 1-for-4, including 0-for-2 on 3-pointers. Griffin and Jordan were unremarkable, though Jordan (17 points on 7-of-10 shooting with 13 rebounds, two blocks, two steals, starter-best -8 plus-minus) didn’t have too bad of a box score. The Clippers lost by 17 to the Warriors and beat the Trail Blazers in their next game, though three days later. I’m not sweating those details, though.
  • All The Smoke clearly has the best stories.
  • My favorite part of this story: Then-Clippers assistant coach Mike Woodson butting in and immediately getting told off.

Giannis Antetokounmpo ejected after headbutting Moe Wagner

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The Milwaukee Bucks are lucky they have another seeding game remaining because there is a good chance Giannis Antetokounmpo gets suspended a game for this.

The reigning (and soon-to-be two time) MVP let Washington’s Moe Wagner get under his skin. After Wagner took a charge from Antetokounmpo the two had to be separated. They kept jawing, and when they came together again, Antetokounmpo headbutted Wagner.

Wagner may have sold that a little, but that is unquestionably a headbutt. Antetokounmpo deserved the Flagrant II and ejection that came with it.

The one-game suspension that is coming will not cost the Bucks anything, they have the No. 1 seed in the East locked up. However, that one game is aginst the Grizzlies and if Memphis wins it gets the nine seed in the West at worst (eighth of Portland were to lose Thursday).

Wagner has a gift for getting under an opponent’s skin. Antetokounmpo has to do better keeping his emotions in check, because come the playoffs they will get tested like never before.

 

Damian Lillard scores 61 points, win vaults Portland to eight seed

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The Portland Trail Blazers control their own postseason destiny — and they can thank Damian Lillard for that.

Lillard got all the respect he wanted when he tied his career-high of 61 points Tuesday, and the Portland Trail Blazers needed every one of them to beat the Dallas Mavericks 134-131.

Lillard was 9-of-17 from three, plus got to the line 18 times and hit every free throw.

Portland’s win combined with Memphis’ loss to Boston puts the Trail Blazers into the eighth seed in the West — win on Thursday against Brooklyn and Portland is the eighth seed. That is a massive advantage heading into the two-game play-in series, the eighth seed just needs to win one of those two games to advance to the playoffs (and a first-round date with LeBron James). The ninth-seeded team needs to sweep the two games to advance.

Memphis can maintain the nine seed with a win Thursday. Should the Grizzlies lose again (to the Bucks, who have nothing to play for) it opens the door for the Suns or the Spurs to get the nine seed. Or maybe higher.

Portland is not safe just because of the win Tuesday: If it loses to Brooklyn on Thursday and two of Memphis, Phoenix, and San Antonio win, the Trail Blazers will be watching the first round of the playoffs on television like the rest of us. The race in the West is that tight.

It’s hard to imagine Portland losing a critical game, however, with the way Lillard is playing. He said he wants some respect on his f ****** name – and he’s more than earned it.

Watch Devin Booker score 35, keep Phoenix perfect 7-0 and in play-in hunt

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Devin Booker scored 35 points and the Phoenix Suns protected their playoff hopes by beating the Philadelphia 76ers 130-117 on Tuesday to remain undefeated in the NBA restart.

Booker became the Suns’ career leader with his 91st 30-point game, breaking a tie with Walter Davis.

Mikal Bridges added 24 points and Ricky Rubio had 16 points with 10 assists for the Suns, who began the day only one game behind eighth-place Memphis in the Western Conference playoff race.

Phoenix is 7-0 as the only undefeated team in the restart and an unlikely factor in the tight race for a spot in this weekend’s play-in for the final playoff spot.

Phoenix pulled away late after leading only 105-102 following back-to-back baskets by Alec Burks, who led the 76ers with 23 points.

A dunk by Cameron Johnson capped a 10-3 run that stretched the lead to 115-105.

The Suns continued their high-scoring play in the bubble after averaging 120 points in the first six games.

Philadelphia, No. 6 in the East and already assured of a playoff spot, is attempting to prepare for the postseason after losing Ben Simmons to a knee injury.

Shake Milton was Philadelphia’s only healthy starter against the Suns. The 76ers also were without Joel Embiid (left ankle), Tobias Harris (sore right ankle) and Al Horford (sore left knee). Josh Richardson was rested.

Spurs playoffs hopes remain alive with 123-105 win over Rockets

Spurs playoffs
Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — The Spurs aren’t out of it yet.

Keldon Johnson had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and San Antonio kept alive its chances of becoming the first team in NBA history to make 23 consecutive playoff appearances with a 123-105 victory over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday.

San Antonio has won three straight and five out of seven since arriving in the Florida bubble.

DeMar DeRozan added 23 points. Jakob Poeltl finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Johnson said his mindset since the season restarted has been to fill in whatever role is asked of him.

“Whether it’s hustling, running the floor – just doing whatever I need to do to help us win,” he said. “Help from my teammates has definitely helped the game slow down for me.”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Johnson is playing with the confidence they saw when they drafted him 29th overall last year.

“That’s what he does,” Popovich said. “He’s a high-energy guy. He’s very physical. Very competitive. Very coachable. He’s just a winner.”

The Western Conference is guaranteed to have a play-in for its final playoff spot, with Memphis beginning the day with just a half-game over Portland and one game ahead of Phoenix and San Antonio.

The Spurs will need help to be one of the teams playing this weekend for the final spot in the Western Conference, but made sure they couldn’t be eliminated Tuesday with their win.

Russell Westbrook had 20 points and seven turnovers in his first game back in the lineup for Houston after missing two games with a bruised right quadriceps. Jeff Green had 17 points. Ben McLemore added 16.

The Rockets played without guards James Harden (rest) and Eric Gordon (ankle).

The Spurs took control in the second quarter, outscoring the Rockets 35-24. San Antonio led by as many as 29 points.

San Antonio built a 19-point lead in the first half. DeRozan set the tone with 15 points in the opening 24 minutes, with Lonnie Waker IV, Poeltl and Johnson each scoring 10.

Regardless of whether the Spurs make the playoffs or not, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is proud of how his young players have stepped up in during their time in the bubble.

“Part of it is you have to be realistic,” Popovich said. “I don’t think our chances of winning the championship were great at the beginning of this, nor are they now. If that’s a fact, then you need to do everything you can to develop and be prepared for next season.

“The development has been off the charts. We’re thrilled with it. So it’s a win-win no matter what.”

Popovich said it would be “thrilling” to get some help and have a chance to extend their season, but he’s not using it as a measuring stick for the season.

“We’ve already accomplished what we thought we were capable of accomplishing, that’s what’s important. If we got in now it would be icing on the cake.”