Blake Griffin, Chris Paul

Cousins accuses Blake Griffin of being “actor,” faking fouls


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:

Here is what Boogie Cousins said after the game, via the Sacramento Bee (hat tip to Tom Ziller).

“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.

Kevin Love unsure about opening-night return

Kevin Love
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He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.

Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:

“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”

Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.

“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”

At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.