Matt Barnes rips Indiana Fever amid Caitlin Clark batterings: ‘Where the f–k are her teammates at?’

Orel Dizon
4 Min Read
Michelle Pemberton-USA TODAY Sports

Retired NBA forward Matt Barnes isn’t too pleased with how the Indiana Fever have failed to protect Caitlin Clark.

He recently discussed how the rookie phenom has been beaten up this season with hard screens, elbows and knockdowns. Barnes said Clark won’t be the last to be on the receiving end of such tactics from other teams, but he sent a message to the Fever because of their supposed failure to protect her.

“My issue and my question is, where the f— are her teammates at?” Barnes asked. “Where y’all at? Where are the rest of the Indiana Fever at? I’ve seen a couple girls smirk when she’s got knocked down, half-a– to pick her up. Y’all supposed to protect the asset, protect the star, and although this is a team, she’s the star. You always protect your star.

“I was someone who protected the stars. You f— with Kob (Kobe Bryant), C.P. (Chris Paul), Blake [Griffin], list goes on, it’s gon’ be a problem ’cause you guys are supposed to be a family. And you wonder why you sit at the bottom of the league right now. It’s ’cause y’all don’t protect each other, man. Coach don’t do s— about it. Players don’t do s— about it. Y’all should be ashamed of it.”

It’s worth noting that when Barnes mentioned that some players have smirked during the situations in question, he may have been referencing players from other teams.

There’s no doubt that Clark is a special talent who helped boost the WNBA’s popularity even before she made her professional debut. Viewership this season has been significantly better than last, certainly thanks largely to the University of Iowa product.

However, opposing teams and players have targeted Clark a lot in her first 10 games with Indiana. In the Fever’s last game, she was on the receiving end of a hard foul from Chicago Sky guard Chennedy Carter. Right after the seemingly dirty play, Clark’s former college rival, Angel Reese, could be seen clapping in approval from the bench.

Fortunately for Clark, the Fever got the last laugh, as they ended up with a 71-70 win. Clark had another rough outing with 11 points on 4-for-11 shooting and six assists, but she got plenty of help from her teammates. She also took the high road after the game and avoided stirring the pot while discussing the hard foul.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” Clark said. “It is what it is. It’s a physical game. Go make the free throw and execute on offense, and I feel like that’s kind of what we did.”

With the Fever’s victory, their record now stands at 2-8, which has them second-to-the-last in the league, ahead of the winless Washington Mystics.

Even despite the win, the story of the evening was Carter flooring the No. 1 draft pick with a cheap shot. According to Barnes, Clark’s teammates should have been there to stand up for her. But it seems the story of the season for the team has been its lack of an enforcer.

Perhaps Indiana can learn a thing or two from Barnes’ words and find a player who can assume such a role. Otherwise, Clark might continue to have a large target on her back even beyond this season.

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Orel's passion for sports stems from following Michael Jordan’s last title runs with the Chicago Bulls and his namesake Orel Hershiser’s Cleveland Indians tenure in the late 1990s.