Thursday , Nov , 13 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

Was Matt Barnes Retaliating for Hit on Steve Nash?

Suns forward Matt Barnes was the first to make a locker appearance, explaining what happened once his lowered shoulder into a Rafer Alston high screen touched off a late third quarter shoving match that never saw a punch thrown. Barnes said he had been hit by a hard screen earlier in the game and saw how teammate Steve Nash had been drilled by a Tracy McGrady screen. Nash winced on the play because it aggravated a pinched nerve in his neck that has bothered him.

"They’re not going to screen me hard," said Barnes, who did not have a foul called on him but was ejected along with Alston. "So I ran through a screen and he didn’t like that.

"You’ve always got to watch out for your team, especially for your star point guard . . . I don’t really know what he was thinking. He thinks he’s tough so he ran up on me. It was just a bunch of pushing."