“Violence is never the answer, but sometimes it is”….Matt Barnes
Usually, when you call someone a snake (other than referring to Kobe Bryant as the Black Mamba) there is nothing complimentary about it. So when NBA bad boy Matt Barnes was asked about seeing Derek Fisher on Saturday, Barnes didn’t hesitate to refer to his former Lakers teammate as a snake. Barnes is still bitter at the October love triangle punch fest where Fisher, allegedly, took the worst of it. Barnes paid the financial price. Suspended two games, he lost $86,000 in game pay which is fueling a lot of his current rage towards Fisher. The crime, as Barnes sees it, is that Fisher told police. The report trickled down to social media and then the NBA offices.
“Every man who looks at the situation knows what’s right and wrong. Violence is never the answer, but sometimes it is.”
While most of America will be watching Aaron Rodgers take on Carson Palmer in a NFC Divisional Playoff matchup, the die-hard Knicks and Grizzlies fans will be dialed in to the Memphis-New York game just to see what happens if Barnes “accidentally on purpose” makes contact with Fisher as a payback. No one can say it won’t happen.
“He already took one L”, Barnes said, referring to the punishment he served on Fisher in October as a reason not to have a sequel. But impulse control isn’t high on Barnes to-do list. Who can forget the Barnes ball-fake-to-Kobe’s-face whereas Kobe didn’t flinch? Barnes looked ridiculous trying to bait one of the NBA’s toughest players. It was legendary Matt Barnes theatrics.
“I know I have to keep my mouth shut because then he’ll run and tell. So we’ll focus on playing that team (Knicks). And when I’m retired, him and I will cross paths again.” (Matt Barnes to NY Post)
All of this drama surrounding the game undermines the most important aspect: the game matters. The Grizzlies and Knicks are both stuck in the quicksand of bottom tier playoff seeds, a fly in the ointment for the OKC Thunder or the draft lottery. Currently the Grizzlies are the sixth seed in the West with a ho-hum 22-19 record. The only offenses worse than the Grizzlies are Brooklyn and Philadelphia. Their defense, as usual, is strong in the paint, but not on the perimeter.
The Knicks are a feel-good story if you are the type that celebrates improvement. At the halfway mark, they have a 15 game upswing over last year. But it hasn’t changed the bottom line. This team of journeymen veterans who circle Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis are fighting tooth and nail to get in the playoffs. The Knicks also have a good defense but the same issues crop up on offense. Carmelo, and who else? Currently, the Knicks are the 11th best team in the Conference but are only one and half games behind Orlando for the 8th seed. Who knew the East would be better than the West? A 40 win East team may not get in the playoffs. So the Knicks need this game, as do the Grizzlies.
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Subtlety is not a Matt Barnes trait, so just to make it clear, he offered his thoughts before the Knicks and Grizzlies tangle in Memphis.
“I just don’t like him (Fisher). Plain and simple. He knows I don’t like him.”
Since when? October? When they were Lakers teammates they liked each other enough. Nevertheless, nothing can bring a friendship to a hatred level like an ex-teammate/friend trying to hook up with your estranged wife.
While Barnes loves to talk, Derek Fisher is much more reserved and professional. How he feels about Barnes is anyone’s guess, though publicly, he has said all he cares about is winning this game. Leave it to Fisher to bring the talk back to what is really important: the matchup. In essence, he is saying Matt Barnes and their thing this October comes in a distant second to the playoff chase, of which, the Grizzlies and Knicks are fighting to stay relevant.
photo via llananba