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.
Which is funny, because D.J. is a f—ing maniac in film sessions.
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.
Doc, he like that s—.
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.
You on edge, so I’m on edge too.
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.