James Harden: Matt Barnes' profane remark to my mom 'disrespectful'

ByCalvin Watkins ESPN logo
Friday, May 8, 2015

LOS ANGELES - James Harden said the profane remark made by Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes to Harden's mother was "disrespectful," but the Houston Rockets guardis moving on to Friday's Game 3 of the Western Conference series that's tied 1-1.

"In any situation when you're talking about somebody's parents, it's disrespectful," Harden said Friday morning. "I'm focused on Game 3, and we're focused and locked in. It's going to be some great intensity tonight. "

During Game 2, Barnes, who had been exchanging words with fans throughout the series, made a profane remark toward Harden's mother.

Barnes said he was simply responding to remarks made toward him and didn't know he was making the remarks at Harden's mother until afterward.

"We've made our peace," Barnes said. "We've spoken twice since the incident. She said something and I said something back. I've heard speculation to what I allegedly said, which is crazy and untrue but it is what it is. They're trying to start controversy. She said something and I said something back. I spoke to her at halftime and I spoke to her after the game and we're fine."

TMZ Sports reported that Barnes apologized to Harden's mother, Monja Willis, after some prompting from one of her sons.

"I'm not really focused [on the apology]," Harden said. "I'm focused on Game 3, and it's about competing and getting a victory out on the road."

The Barnes issue could be seen as something to invigorate a Rockets team that's had trouble with some energy in the series. Harden, who leads the Rockets in scoring, could also find a little extra motivation, given what Barnes said and that he's playing a playoff game in his hometown.

"I think it does, definitely for that individual," Rockets forward Josh Smith said. "I know how I would be if someone said something to one of my loved ones. Everybody is focused and we understand what it takes now in order to compete and it should be a dogfight from here on out."

Smith dismissed the notion that the Rockets would target Barnes with hard fouls. The series has been hampered with numerous fouls called on both teams, but nothing that would be considered dirty.

"It's the second round and players will do whatever it takes to get individuals out of their element and we understand," Smith said. "We're focused, and we don't care about anything but winning the basketball game. We're not focused on verbal words. On the court, we can't do anything. You do anything, you're going to get suspended and nobody wants to lose money; it's all about staying focused and channeling that energy into something positive than something negative."

Barnes was fined $25,000 in January for directing inappropriate language at fans. It was the second time Barnes was fined for such conduct. He was scheduled to speak to the league on Friday and said he expected another $25,000 fine.

"I got a text message that I'm supposed to call them after practice. I'm sure they want some of my check," Barnes said. "What I said was said and what she said was said. No matter what was said, we both said something. I got a tongue-lashing from Doc this morning and we've made our peace and I'm ready to play basketball."

Barnes was ultimately fined $50,000, the league announced Friday.

Information from ESPN.com's Arash Markazi was used in this report.

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