DeMarcus Cousins was left in the Kings locker room for the second half of the team’s loss to the Clippers Friday following a halftime argument with coach Keith Smart.
Smart wouldn’t get into specifics after the game, saying Cousins was benched for, “”conduct detrimental to the team and I’ll leave it at that” reports the Sacramento Bee. Smart said he would decide later on any future punishment for Cousins.
The Kings broadcast showed Cousins and Smart arguing on the bench between the first and second quarters. Apparently that spilled over into the locker room at the half.
Cousins apologized after the game, again via the Bee:
“What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room but I was wrong. But what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room.”
Cousins was then asked what he could do to avoid further situations where attention was on his actions off the court.
“Don’t talk back. That’s the thing. I shouldn’t have responded back. Should have accepted what was said and stayed quiet.”
There are a couple of things in play here. As our own Aaron Bruski told you this week, there is friction and frustration in the Kings locker room with Smart and his rotations. And with reason, the guy is fixated on players like Aaron Brooks and doesn’t seem to be developing a team for the future.
But this is still Cousins — a guy who consistently lets his emotions of the moment get in the way of his judgment and game. A guy who holds himself back because he can’t hold himself back sometimes — like when he got suspended for going to argue with a Spurs broadcaster over something said on their broadcast. Cousins clashed with all his coaches in Sacramento now, Smart was the one that seemed to have a better relationship with him. But even that has soured.
When Cousins was part of the USA Select Team, practicing against Team USA headed off to the London Olympics, Kobe Bryant was asked about Cousins (who had a little tiff with Jerry Colangelo, head honcho of USA Basketball):
“All he has to do is continue to work, continue to keep his level head. That’s all he has to do. That’s all he has to do…” Kobe said. “He gets in trouble when he starts letting his emotions get the best of him, now people start talking about that as opposed to his game.”
And we are right back there again.