DeMarcus Cousins accuses Marcus Smart of cheap shot before altercation


BOSTON – DeMarcus Cousins is not happy.

Not happy with the Kings losing. Not happy with how he’s handling it. And not happy with Marcus Smart.

Cousins got ejected during Sacramento’s loss – its ninth in 11 games – to the Celtics yesterday for throwing Smart rookie to the floor as they went for a rebound. If you watch the above video from the beginning, though, that wasn’t their first contact on the possession.

“I did have an issue,” Cousins said. “It didn’t start with the box out. That’s where I feel a lot of people – it was the pick. He tried to run through my chest. Then, he came and I felt he took a cheap shot on the box out. And that’s what result to what happened. But even with that being said, I’ve got to make better decisions. The team depends on me every night, and I just can’t do things like that.”

Cousins noted he’d been previously injured on a similar play, but the Kings center – who picked up a technical earlier in the game for arguing a call – added: “I blame nobody but myself.”

“I let my emotions get the best of me and let it carry over into that last play, and I just can’t do that,” Cousins said. “I’ve got to be smart. I’ve got to make better decisions.”

Smart didn’t agree with Cousins’ characterization of the play.

“It was a box out,” Smart said. “So, that’s his opinion. Everybody saw the play. Like I said, I’m not going to back down from anything. If that’s what he thinks, that’s what he thinks.”

And the screen?

“Once again, that’s what he thinks,” Smart said. “I’m just playing defense.

“He knows that I’m not going to back down from him.”

The Kings’ 22-point loss to Boston was their biggest setback of the season – made even more discouraging by the Celtics’ 11-18 record. Sacramento’s only other two losses by more than 13 points had come to the first-place Warriors.

Firing coach Michael Malone has thrown the Kings’ season into chaos, and keeping Cousins out of the loop on that and replacement-coach Tyrone Corbin getting a rest-of-season contract hasn’t helped.

“We’ve got to come together as a team, myself included,” Cousins said. “I’m leader of this team, and I’ve got to get my stuff together as well. These guys are depending on me every night, and I can’t have games like I had tonight.”

Cousins, who set a preseason goal of five technical fouls for the season, now has four nearly 40 percent through the season.

Where does he go from here?

“To the next game,” Cousins said. “…Winning cures a lot. Get on a winning streak and see how the conversation goes then.”