DALLAS – J.J. Barea won’t be gifted a Rolex watch from John Wall anytime soon.
An on-court confrontation between Barea and Wall was just a warm-up act Monday night. Things really got rolling when the veteran point guards exchanged trash talk via the media after Barea’s Dallas Mavericks cruised to a 98-75 rout of Wall’s Washington Wizards.
Wall fired the first shot when asked about the barking between the two, which resulted in Barea being whistled for a technical foul with 7:42 remaining in the game.
“Just a little midget trying to get mad,” Wall said. “I don’t pay him no mind.”
Barea, a 12-year veteran who is very generously listed at 6 feet, raised his eyebrows when Wall’s comment was relayed to him. Barea said Wall’s comment was “funny” before firing back.
“Now I have somebody in the NBA that I don’t like,” Barea said. “That’s my first. I don’t like him at all now. But I don’t think his teammates like him, either. So it’s nothing new for him.”
Wall, who gave his teammates Rolexes as Christmas gifts this season, has publicly acknowledged chemistry issues with backcourt partner Bradley Beal in the past. Barea’s poke at Wall’s popularity with his teammates also came the day after a Washington Post story about a Wizards team meeting that didn’t go well.
“A couple guys took it the negative way, and it hurt our team,” Wall told the Washington Post. “Instead of taking it in a positive way like we did in the past and using it to build our team up, it kind of set us back a little bit.”
The confrontation between Barea and Wall occurred after Barea pushed off against Washington’s Kelly Oubre Jr., getting called for an offensive foul with 7:42 remaining. Wall hit Barea on the arm while attempting to block his shot attempt after the whistle.
“So I turn around, and we’re looking at each other,” said Barea, who had a smile on his face when the on-court discussion with Wall started. “I think he’s going to say — what I would do? — ‘My bad’ or something. But he didn’t say that. He was like — I’m not going to say the bad word — ‘What are you gonna do?’ I was like, ‘What?’ So you know, I had to say some stuff back, and he never changed his mind.
“He’s trying to be a tough guy when he’s not.”