Kurt Helin

DeMarcus Cousins scores 55, gets ejected, gets unejected, then rants after game

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Nobody has had a day quite like DeMarcus Cousins did Tuesday.

First, he was fined $50,000 by his own team for publicly berating a Sacramento Bee columnist.

Next, he took out all that frustration on the overmatched defense of the Portland Trail Blazers, scoring 55 points on 17-of-28 shooting, leading the Kings to 126-121 win over the team they are chasing for a playoff slot.

Near the end of the game, Cousins got ejected after barking at the Trail Blazers bench and his mouthpiece coming out — one referee thought he either spit it or threw it at the Blazers bench and gave him a technical, Cousins’ second. He sprinted to the locker room to avoid doing anything stupid. Then the officials talked, decided the mouthpiece coming out was accidental, and rescinded the technical. See the whole thing below, decide for yourself if it was an accident.

Here is the official explaination — the referee says he thought Cousins threw his mouthpiece.

Then after the game, Cousins went off on a “ridiculous” rant about the ejection, how he’s treated by referees, how other teams are playing him, and… then the mic cuts off.

That sounded a lot like the broadcast cut off the mic on Cousins to squelch his rant — which quickly became a popular theory on Twitter — but the woman holding the mic said that is not the case.

Whatever happened with the mic, nobody has ever had a day quite like Cousins did Tuesday. Not even Oscar Robertson.

Spurs’ Patty Mills drains game-winning three, ends Rockets’ 10-game winning streak

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Kawhi Leonard tried to take advantage of the mismatch, but couldn’t. Manu Ginobili bailed him out then drove the crowded lane — and kicked out to a wide-open Patty Mills.

Mills had time to set up camp, get a fire going, and make some smores before taking this three — and he drained it. It up the Spurs up 102-100 and that remained the final score.

The Spurs win improved them to 15-1 on the road this season and ended the 10-game winning streak of the Rockets. James Harden had 31 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists for Houston. Leonard led the Spurs with 21 points.

Charlotte’s Nicolas Batum calls bank, hits game winner to beat Lakers (VIDEO)

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The Lakers looked like the team from the first month of the season, the one that played hard, put up buckets, and was not easy to beat.

But Charlotte found a way Tuesday night, thanks to a running bank shot by Nicolas Batum.

It was 113-113 with :30 seconds remaining when Kemba Walker took a three and missed — but he hustled, followed his own shot, and got the offensive rebound. He reset the offense, giving the ball to Batum, who saw Nick Young was guarding him and decided to attack in isolation. You can see the result above.

For Charlotte, these are the kinds of games playoff teams find a way to win. Walker had 28 to lead the Hornets, Jordan Clarkson had 25 for the Lakers.

LeBron James passes Moses Malone for eighth on NBA all-time scoring list

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LeBron James continues to climb up the NBA record books.

With a bucket early in Cleveland’s game in Milwaukee, LeBron moved past the legendary Moses Malone into eighth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. He did it with an offensive rebound in the paint, then bullying his way to the rim for an easy bucket — a Malone specialty.

That is the third time this season LeBron has leapfrogged someone on the list, he passed Hakeem Olajuwon and Elgin Hayes already.

Next up for LeBron on the list is Shaquille O’Neal, but that’s an 1,100 point gap that is going to likely take until next season.

DeMarcus Cousins: “I let my emotions get the best of me”

demarcus cousins
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DeMarcus Cousins made a mistake, going after a Sacramento Bee columnist in the locker room after a game for something that had been written referencing Cousins’ brother.

It cost Cousins $50,000, and on Tuesday he issued this statement:

“There is a time, place and manner to say everything, and I chose the wrong ones. Like most people, I am fiercely protective of my friends and family, and I let my emotions get the best of me in this situation. I understand my actions were inexcusable and I commit to upholding the professional standards of the Kings and the NBA. I apologize to my teammates, fans and the Kings organization for my behavior and the ensuing distraction, and I look forward to moving on and focusing on basketball.”

Here are a few thoughts.

• That is not an apology to the veteran Sacramento Bee columnist. I read the column, which referenced Cousins’ brother in the second-to-last paragraph of a long story suggesting Cousins needs to make better decisions. Cousins basically just proved the writer’s point with the outburst.

• Cousins was spot on about the timing and setting being all wrong. There isn’t any media member doing his/her job who hasn’t gotten a call from a team media representative/executive/coach to privately tell you exactly why they thought on a particular story you had your head up your… you get the idea. But these are blunt discussions that happen in private, the situation is treated with mutual respect — and usually there is more when it is over. You hear the other side’s point of view and understand where they are coming from. What Cousins did was try to bully a media member in public to stop criticism. It backfired.

• If you’re an NBA GM — let’s hypothetically say one of a major East Coast media market where the team is in need of one more elite star to be a contender — this incident has to give you pause. Sacramento is a one-paper town (the Bee) where the spotlight isn’t incredibly bright, the media is generally supportive, and where the scrutiny is not as intense. Yet Cousins has still had public issues with the Bee as well as blogs like Sactown Royalty (which is a fantastic read, but why is Cousins reading everything about him?). If he struggles with the criticism in Sacramento, how is he going to handle a bigger media market where there will be guys nightly trying to poke the bear and get a reaction.

• That said, if the Kings did decide to trade him a few teams would step up with significant offers. He’s still a beast on the court, the best traditional center in the game.

• My guess is Cousins stays with the Kings, and I mean long term. They were very likely to keep him all season anyway (the owner wants to keep him, and they are just two games out of the playoffs), then see this summer if he was thinking of leaving via free agency, which would force their hand. Except, now the Kings can go to Cousins this summer and offer him the “designated player” extension of five-years, roughly $210 million. He’s going to look at his options for free agency in 2018, then take the cash and re-sign. And the dysfunctional marriage in Sacramento will continue.