DeMarcus Cousins and Blake Griffin were banging on each other pretty hard Thursday night in what Kings coach Keith Smart called a great football game.
But Cousins was the one who ended up in foul trouble, playing just 18 minutes due to it (while Griffin had a double double and even hit key jumpers late). And Cousins was pissed about how the calls went.
He was especially angry about his fifth foul, where he swiped at the ball while Griffin held it. Griffin grabbed his eye as if he were hit, but Cousins would have none of that. Decide for yourself if this is a foul:
“I guess the wind from my hand hit him in the eye,” Cousins said. “I guess he got fouled by the wind….
“(Griffin is) in L.A. where actors belong,” Cousins said. “He’s an actor, so of course he would say (that he wasn’t worried about it).”
The two teams play again Saturday.
Griffin is developing a reputation among players (and some fans) as, well, as Eric Freeman said “a jerk.” This is not the first time he has been accused of acting to draw a foul, he talks a lot on the court, plus there is a sense that he whines whenever he is touched then takes some cheap fouls the other way. His aggressiveness certainly means he gets away with some things — both of his dunks on Pau Gasol Wednesday were offensive fouls, but there were no calls.
ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz described Griffin as playing a “confrontational” style of basketball. It gets under opponents’ skin. That doesn’t excuse the kind of cheap shot Jason Smith put on him, but you can bet other guys are going to start to push back and be physical with him.
Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.
Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.