Blake Griffin, Chris Paul

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

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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.

Aaron Gordon both legs over the mascot, ball-under-the-legs dunk (VIDEO)

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TORONTO — Zach LaVine won the NBA All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest, but in an epic night for my money this was the single best dunk.

Orlando’s Aaron Gordon broke ground with this one — guys have jumped over mascots and other players before (and a Kia hood), but by splitting their legs apart. Gordon just put both legs over Stuff (that’s the mascot’s name, Stuff the Magic Dragon, I don’t make this up) — and took the ball off the mascot’s head, went under his legs, and threw it down.

Insane.

Gordon deserved a trophy for his performance in this dunk contest.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

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TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.

And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)

“I was prepared for four (second round dunks),” LaVine said. “To tell the truth, he came with something that no one else has done. He did two dunks that were just crazy with the mascots, jumping over them. We just kept pushing each other until the last dunk. I’ve got to give it up to my boy Will “The Thrill” Barton. It’s because of him I think I won. Because he said try to go from the free-throw line. I’d never done that before, and I just tried it. So I guess it was a great dunk. I think it was the best one ever.”

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

“If I knew it was going to be like that, I would have prepared better and we would have been here dunking all night, going back 50 after 50 after 50 after 50,” Gordon said. “We would have been here all night. I didn’t know it was going to be like that. I was just hoping Zach was going to miss, and it wasn’t going to happen. You could see as my facial expressions when Zach dunks it, it’s like okay, that’s a 50. Like I know we’re going to have to dunk again.”

So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.

Gordon was close to perfect.

Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

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TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.

Zach LaVine opens Slam Dunk Contest title defense with spectacular behind-the-back slam (VIDEO)

during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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TORONTO — Zach LaVine clearly heard all the talk that Aaron Gordon or Will Barton had a chance to upset him in the Slam Dunk Contest. He came out ready to prove his superiority right off the bat. This behind-the-back slam was his first attempt of the night:

Even better was the reaction, both from Andre Drummond and from LaVine’s Minnesota teammates: