DeMarcus Cousins

Cousins responds to Mayo saying he had “mental issues”


O.J. Mayo was ticked when DeMarcus Cousins elbowed him below the belt — because all guys are ticked or worse when we get hit there. Cousins said it wasn’t intentional, but Mayo fired shots at him postgame, saying, “”That guy has some mental issues, man…. He’s immature, man. Big maturity problem.”

Cousins responded, speaking with the Sacramento Bee.

“I heard,” Cousins said. “This coming from a guy that doesn’t have a great image himself. So what does his really mean? I’m fine with it.”

Cousins has point. As a pro Mayo has gotten in fights with Tony Allen over a gambling debt, been suspended 10 games for violating the league’s drug policy, and he used to publicly complain about his role on what was a playoff team in Memphis. In college he was involved in a recruiting scandal that caused USC to have to vacate all its wins for a season.

So, maybe we can both agree that they have both been immature and move on to the next point — Mayo said Cousins could be a franchise player but doesn’t want it.

“Is he a franchise player?” Cousins said. “So how is he going to tell me what I am?”

Mayo is a lot closer to a franchise player this year in Dallas than he has been any year of his career. But no GM is banking on him as a franchise guy.

But they are not banking on Cousins, either, not right now. Because they are not sure if his pride and ego will continue to get in his own way (like going out to yell at a Spurs broadcaster who called you out during a game). Cousins may get there, he is closer than Mayo, but pride goes before the fall.

So are we done now with two immature guys sniping at each other?

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
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The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry

The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.