LOS ANGELES -- Clippers forward Matt Barnes "stood up" for his teammates during Wednesday night's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder then took to Twitter -- while third-quarter play was ongoing -- with a racially charged tweet saying he would never do it again.
Barnes and Thunder forward Serge Ibaka were ejected with 6.2 seconds left in the second quarter after Ibaka and Clippers forward Blake Griffin got tangled up as Griffin tried to put up a shot. It looked like Ibaka had pushed Griffin, and Barnes shoved Ibaka hard in the chest. Players from both teams had to restrain Barnes and Ibaka from each other as Ibaka cocked his right fist as if to throw a punch while Barnes continued jawing with him. Griffin was assessed a technical foul.
During the third quarter, Barnes tweeted, "I love my teammates like family, but I'm DONE standing up for these n---as! All this s--- does is cost me money. …" The tweet was later deleted.
"I think he's very emotional and down that he got thrown out," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said of Barnes' online outburst. "I get that part, but the choice of words, obviously that's not a word I'm a fan of in all venues."
This isn't the first time Griffin and Ibaka have been involved in an altercation. Last season, Ibaka hit Griffin below the waist and the two had to be separated. Ibaka wasn't ejected or suspended but was fined $25,000 after the incident.
Barnes' teammates came to his defense after the Clippers' 111-103 win Wednesday.
"One of the best teammates I've ever had," said Chris Paul, who hadn't seen the tweet. "Matt has a big heart. He goes out there and competes every night. Not scared of nothing."
"We appreciate what Matt does for us, and he's a great teammate," Griffin said. "We've got his back, and he's got ours."
Jared Dudley said he would have done the same thing for Barnes.
"He's a really tough guy, and sometimes he wants that [from] everybody," Dudley said. "It goes both ways. We've got to be a little bit tougher, and he's got to be a little bit smarter."
Barnes has been suspended four times since 2008 for on-court incidents. He's also been fined a number of times. His latest suspension came in February when he received a one-game ban for striking then-Minnesota Timberwolves center Greg Stiemsma in the neck.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.