DeMarcus Cousins: Real trouble or just immature?
It may be a little of both, but more just immature if you look at what he told Sam Amick of FanHouse about being thrown out of practice Monday.
“I was being selfish,” Cousins said after tallying 20 points and eight rebounds in a loss to Indiana on Tuesday night at Arco Arena, the Kings’ 10th in their last 11 games. “I’m frustrated about losing. In my own opinion, I believe different strategies should be in the game and I was being selfish. It was a good lesson for me. I learned from it.
“I am a big part of this team, and Coach Westphal said (in practice) I’ve been terrible. And that’s the truth. I’ve been terrible. It is a big effect on the team. I’ve got to pick up my game, and so does the rest of this team and we’ve got to turn this thing around.”
Those comments are a sign of maturity. That maybe he is growing up now, and being forced to do it fast.
Cousins, as he showed against Indiana (and has in flashes at other times this season) has the talent to tear this league up. He has a lot of athleticism and great touch for a man in such a big body. He could be a force.
Which is why teams have called about trading for him, hoping the Kings were ready to give up already. They are not. Cousins is not available, Amick was told.
As it should be. So far what has held Cousins back is Cousins. If he gets it going and plays well with others, the Kings will have the steal of the draft.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.