DeMarcus Cousins on Chris Paul: ‘I dislike CP a lot’

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DeMarcus Cousins hasn’t gotten along with Chris Paul. That’s been clear for a while now.

If you want an update, their feud hasn’t been resolved.

Cousins, speaking with Bill Simmons of Grantland, was talking about Blake Griffin when the Kings center turned the discussion to Paul.

  • Simmons: “I thought you guys had a little beef, right?”
  • Cousins: “Nah.”
  • Simmons: “Nothing?”
  • Cousins: “Just a little rivalry, but I don’t have a problem with Blake.”
  • Simmons: “Didn’t you guys almost get in a fight once?”
  • Cousins: “No.”
  • Simmons: “Altercation? Argument?”
  • Cousins: “No.”
  • Simmons: “Nothing?”
  • Cousins: “No.”
  • Simmons: “You sure? I feel like I was at a game where that might have happened.”
  • Cousins: “No.”
  • Simmons: “There was some talking?”
  • Cousins: “Probably me and CP, but not me and Blake. I don’t have a problem with Blake.”
  • Simmons: “Oh, you’re one of the guys who doesn’t like – there’s a lot of guys who CP kind of bugs.”
  • Cousins: “Yeah, I dislike CP a lot.”
  • Simmons: “CP does a lot of talking.”
  • Cousins: “I know.”
  • Simmons: What if you saw him off the court? You’d be OK with him, right?”
  • Cousins: “I don’t have a problem.”
  • Simmons: “The good news is you’re like 12 inches taller than him if you ever have – he’s like 5-10.”
  • Cousins: “I know. That’s usually how it goes. It’s the small ones.””
  • Simmons: “Could you play with somebody like that, who’s just like a Chihuahua, just barking at everybody for three hours?”
  • Cousins: “Yeah, because I’m the same way.”

I love that Cousins essentially admits that he dislikes Paul because they play for different teams. That’s really the root of the whole issue. Put them on the same team, and they’d be best buds. Now, though, there’s nothing to link them.

Later, the conversation turns to another polarizing player, Rajon Rondo.

  • Simmons: So you think Rondo is the best point guard in the league?
  • Cousins: Absolutely.
  • Simmons: How much of that has to do with the fact that you and Chris Paul don’t like each other that much.
  • Cousins: Nothing at all.

I don’t believe Cousins, and if he’s telling the truth, he’s wrong.

I’d definitely take Paul, Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook over Rondo. With Derrick Rose – and Rondo himself – health determines the debate. Rondo is on the same tier as Tony Parker, and younger point guards like Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving and John Wall could reach that level soon if they’re not there already.

But I do find Cousins’ fondness for Rondo particularly interesting in light of the latest rumors – free agents not wanting to play with Rondo and the Kings discussing a trade for Josh Smith.

Rondo – whom Sacramento previously tried to trade for – and Smith are close friends. Maybe the two of them could give Cousins the support he needs to actually challenge Paul and the Clippers.

Danny Green: Kawhi Leonard told me he wants to stay with Spurs

AP Photo/Eric Gay
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The Spurs are reportedly worried Kawhi Leonard‘s camp wants to get him to the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks or 76ers.

Leonard hasn’t said much himself – except apparently to San Antonio teammate Danny Green

Get Up on ESPN:

Green:

I talk to him here and there, check up on him, see how he’s doing.

I think he wants to be in San Antonio. He’s let me know that. He’s let me know verbally he wanted to be there. So, we’ll see what happens.

Green has tried playing peacemaker throughout this saga – going as far as denying tension that clearly exists. He’s not the most reliable source.

And even if Leonard explicitly told Green he wants to remain in San Antonio, I’m not sure Leonard is confrontational enough to tell Green he wanted out, even if he did.

Those caveats acknowledged, this could be a huge revelation.

If Leonard wants to stay with the Spurs, the next step is meeting with them, mending their relationship and convincing them he deserves a super-max extension (which projects to be worth $219 million over five years). No matter how Leonard feels about San Antonio right now, if the Spurs don’t trust investing so much in him, that could lead to a fractured relationship and his exit.

So, there’s still a lot to sort out. But Green saying this means something.

LeBron James flips elimination-game game on its head

AP Photo/Charles Krupa
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His Cavaliers down 3-2 to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals, how does LeBron James assess his situation?

"I don’t enjoy being in the position where it’s you lose and go home," LeBron said before Game 6 tonight in Cleveland.

He might not enjoy this position, but he’s pretty good in it.

Since he first reached the playoffs in 2006, other teams have won 26% of their elimination games. LeBron’s teams have won 57% of theirs.

Of course, LeBron hasn’t gone 12-9 in elimination games just because he’s lucky. He has willed his team off the mat numerous times.

LeBron has scored 40 points and/or had a triple-double in six straight elimination games, winning five of them. His line in his last elimination game before that streak? Just 32 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists.

A full history of LeBron’s elimination games:

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Rockets played with fire with Chris Paul, got burned

AP Photo/David J. Phillip
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Chris Paul played 79 minutes in three days.

Prior to Games 4 and 5 of these Western Conference finals, he hadn’t done that in more than two years. He hadn’t done it without both games going to overtime in more than three years.

The Rockets leaned heavily on the 33-year-old Paul, and they’ll pay the price.

Paul will miss Game 6 against the Warriors tomorrow. Given how quickly Houston ruled out Paul with a strained hamstring, he seems unlikely to play in a potential Game 7 Monday.

Injuries are somewhat – but not completely – random. Players are more susceptible when worn down. After missing the close of the 2016 postseason, Paul missed 45 games the last two regular seasons. He has accumulated a lot of mileage in his 13-year career.

Yet, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni drastically shortened his rotation, anyway. Not only did Paul play big minutes in this series, he shouldered a huge load. He took the reins of the offense at times, allowing James Harden to conserve energy for defense, while maintaining his own strong-two way play. That’s never easy, especially in these high-intensity games.

This was the risk.

We can feel bad for Paul and his predicament. We can also acknowledge Houston got this far by gambling on Paul’s health.

That’s not to say it was a bad bet. This is what you save him for, the biggest playoff series of his career and maybe one of the last before he exits his prime. The Rockets would have been far worse off to this point resting Paul extensively and protecting him. Even with such a heavy workload, an injury was never fait accompli. And Houston got plenty from Paul before he went down. He was instrumental to wins in Game 4 and Game 5 that gave the Rockets a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals.

Now, they just must hope that’s enough of a head-start into a world of playing without Paul.

Chris Paul out for Rockets-Warriors Game 6

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The Rockets bought themselves margin for error by earning home-court advantage and taking a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals.

They’ll need it.

Chris Paul will miss Game 6 against the Warriors tomorrow with a strained hamstring.

Rockets release:

The Houston Rockets announced today that guard Chris Paul will miss Saturday’s game at Golden State with a right hamstring strain that occurred during the fourth quarter of last night’s game against the Warriors. He will be re-evaluated after the team returns to Houston.

Golden State was already heavily favored at home. This will tilt the odds even further in its favor.

But the Rockets aren’t completely incapable without Paul. They went 15-9 without him this season. James Harden and Eric Gordon can assume extra playmaking duty.

Still, this is a massive loss. When Harden is overburdened offensively, his defense suffers. Gordon is already playing a lot of minutes, so greater responsibility will come in role, not playing time. To fill Paul’s minutes, Mike D’Antoni will have to expand a rotation he had masterfully tightened. Gerald Green could play more. Luc Mbah a Moute could return to the rotation.

A Game 7 looks increasingly likely. Will Paul return for that? The 2018 NBA title might hinge on that question.

Given how quickly the Rockets announced Paul would miss Game 6, there isn’t much reason for optimism about Paul’s availability three days from now, either.