Timberwolves guard J.J. Barea, who was ejected Monday night for an altercation with Ray Allen and directed obscenities toward Allen as he left the floor, had strong words for the Heat’s guard after the game.
“I’ve been playing in the NBA seven years,” Barea told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “I get hit harder than that every night. I don’t get up crying, I don’t want to fight. [Former Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew] Bynum almost knocked me out for the rest of my life. I didn’t get up crying. It was just a little bump, it’s part of the game. Don’t be like that.”
Allen said he was surprised by the hard foul. Barea, who thought Allen should have been called for an offensive foul seconds earlier, floored Allen with a hard bump, Allen went after Barea, and the two had to be separated.
Said Allen: “I thought it was uncalled for. There’s no place for that in this game. You’re not scaring me, I’m not backing down. The fact he got ejected by the referees, that was their judgment call. I didn’t egg that on. They made that judgment. I’m just glad I kept my composure. I’ve managed to keep a level head during my career.”
Originally assessed a Flagrant Foul 2 on the play, Barea’s confrontation with Allen was downgraded Tuesday to a Fragrant 1, and the NBA ruled Barea never should have been ejected. In addition, Barea will not face a fine or suspension for the foul.
Asked if he had ever seen Allen that mad, Heat guard Dwyane Wade smiled. “Only against me.”
Mum’s the word
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has yet to bring up Miami’s winning streak when addressing his team.
“So it feels awkward addressing it with [the media],” Spoelstra said after the Heat won its franchise-record 15th in a row Monday night at the Target Center.
“Obviously, it’s a residual of a group effort and group success. I don’t want our guys focusing on the record, although it’s a great thing for our franchise. But our focus is to try to improve. We’ll start that process with a better game on Wednesday.”
The Heat has posted impressive wins during the streak, including road victories against Oklahoma City, Chicago and New York, and home wins against the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies.
But if Miami doesn’t repeat as NBA champion, players know the streak becomes just another statistic.
“We have to look forward,” said Allen, who is in his first season with the Heat. “We can’t say ‘We won this many games’ because at the start of the season, that’s not the goal. When you put a winning streak together, people talk about it. But we have an ultimate goal. That can’t be accomplished at this time of the season.”
Allen noted that one thing he has been happy about is the Heat’s success away from Miami.
Starting with a win against the Magic in Orlando on New Year’s Eve, the Heat has won 12 of its past 17 on the road. Prior to Miami’s overtime win in Orlando, the Heat had lost two in a row on the road — in Detroit and Milwaukee — and were 6-6 away from home.
The Heat kicks off a four-game homestand Wednesday against the Magic.
“I know some of our guys need some rest going into Wednesday,” Spoelstra said.
The Heat played three games in four days before taking Tuesday off.
“Going back to Miami, we’ll get ready for Orlando,” Spoelstra said. “Hopefully, we have a sharper game.”
The highlight of the homestand will be Indiana’s visit Sunday. The Heat has lost both games to the Pacers this season — but Sunday will mark Indiana’s first trip to Miami.
Miami rallied from a 2-1 series deficit to knock Indiana out of the postseason in last year’s Eastern Conference semifinals en route to its second NBA title.• LeBron James said after Monday’s game that he had no lingering effects after landing hard on his left knee during Sunday’s game against the Knicks. James played 35 minutes against the Wolves and scored 20 points.
“It felt good [Monday] morning after treatment,” James said. “I jammed it when I hit the floor. I was a little scared.”