‘Small’ talk ignites war of words between Wall and Barea

John Wall says it's time for the Wizards to live up to their own expectations this season.

A little small talk goes a long way toward a true war of words, apparently.

A dustup between J.J. Barea of the Mavericks and John Wall of the Wizards during Dallas’ 98-75 whipping of visiting Washington escalated in a verbal manner in the respective postgame locker rooms.

“It was cool to me. It was funny,” Wall said. “Just a little midget trying to get mad. So I paid him no mind.”

A 12-year veteran generously listed at 6 feet, Barea raised his eyebrows when informed of Wall’s comment, calling it “funny,” then taking aim on his own.

“Now, I have somebody in the NBA that I don’t like,” he said. “That’s my first. I don’t like him at all now.”

But Barea wasn’t finished.

“But I don’t think his teammates like him, either,” he said. “So it’s nothing new for him.”

Though he didn’t say so, specifically, Barea was most likely referring to reports the Wizards had a recent players-only meeting and it did not go well.

The oncourt confrontation between the two point guards took place with 7:42 to play when Barea was whistled for an offensive foul after pushing off against the Wizards’ Kelly Oubre Jr. Wall then hit Barea on the arm while trying to block his shot attempt after the whistle was blown. Barea was the hit with a technical foul.

“So I turn around, and we’re looking at each other,” Barea, who had a smile on his face when the words with Wall started, said. “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.”