All over the place: Contrite, then brash, Cousins scores 55 as the Kings tip the Blazers

December 21, 2016

NBA, Sacramento Kings


By Morris Phillips

SACRAMENTO–DeMarcus Cousins, this is normal? Really?

Well, don’t get upset, DeMarcus, if I term it the new normal.

Cousins started Tuesday by admitting that his menacing act heaped upon Sacramento Bee columnist Andy Furillo was poorly timed, poorly placed, another one of those DeMarcus misunderstood moments that was just the Kings’ star trying to stick up for those close to him, in this case Cousins’ younger brother Jaleel.  The two brothers were involved in an incident earlier this year that Furillo used in his column to illustrate Cousins’ disturbing pattern of poor choices leading to the publicized incident in New York involving Cousins and teammate Matt Barnes.

The Kings–looking for a more definitive statement than the one released by Cousins prior to Tuesday’s game against the Trailblazers–fined their star.  The amount of the fine was $50,000, according to Bee.

Nothing to sneeze at, but probably an amount equal to what Cousins spent on his fall/winter fashion purchases, minus the cost of deodorants, which he borrowed from a teammate before speaking to the assembled media, after the 6’11” star hand delivered a win for Sacramento with 55 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter.

“Hi friends, how have you been?” Cousins asked before taking questions.

The bit was so revealing of the star’s many moods and thoughts that his locker room q&a was shown for nearly three minutes on the late SportsCenter.  Of course, the main topic of discussion postgame was the technical foul that caused Cousins’ ejection was rescinded by the referees, after a group discussion, no video review, allowing the star to return from the dressing room, and finish off the Blazers.

“I hope the world can see now what’s really going on out here. It’s really ridiculous,” Cousins said to sideline reporter Kayte Christensen immediately following the game’s conclusion.

Cousins has an NBA-leading 103 technical fouls since he entered the league in 2010. Number 104 could have changed the discourse on Tuesday.  Already without second leading scorer Rudy Gay, and bludgeoned by the Blazers’ 72-point first half, no Cousins in the final 35 seconds could have wiped the season’s best win off the books for the 11-17 Kings.

But it didn’t.  Cousins strutted out of the arena’s tunnel, with that familiar, frustrated look on his face, and hit a free throw that completed a three-point play that gave the Kings the lead for good.

“Certainly DeMarcus had a nice game,” Coach Dave Joerger said. “Okay, that’s kind of an understatement, but very impressed that any of us who would get thrown out in what we think is a questionable deal.  You go back and you’re feeling terrible, mentally you’re done.  And to come back out–all the way back out–and step out and make the free throw was very impressive.  I was impressed with him.”

The Blazers did their part in Cousins’ stage play in three acts by collapsing on cue late.  Portland’s 72-point, first half devolved into a 22-point, fourth quarter.  Damian Lillard and crew missed 22 of their 26 three-point attempts, which certainly would have been the story had not Cousins’ Christmas play not been booked for Golden One Arena on Tuesday.

So what exactly happened with 35 seconds remaining in the game? You would ask.

After beating Portland’s Mason Plumlee down the lane, to the basket, for a nifty layup and a foul, Cousins stomped towards the Blazers’ bench screaming.  In the process of dropping some choice words that Blazer Meyers Leonard said were unrepeatable, and directed at him, Cousins mouthpiece flew out, and at the feet of the Blazers.

Coach Terry Stotts and his staff screamed for a technical to be issued, and it was, by referee Brian Forte.  But aftet all three refs huddled,  and Cousins departed, ripping his jersey off in the process, the call was rescinded.

“I conferred with my partners and they confirmed that he did not throw the mouthpiece, and that it came out of his mouth and that’s how it ended up there,” said Forte afterwards to pool reporter Mike Richman.



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