It was a busy Tuesday for DeMarcus Cousins. Fresh off a $50,000 fine for berating a Sacramento Bee columnist (for which he offered a notably lacking apology), Cousins went out, had a monster game, got ejected, got un-ejected, scored 55 points, led the Kings to a big win over the Blazers, and then gave a spirited postgame interview that saw the audio drop out midway through.
With the game tied at 119, Cousins hit a layup and was fouled with 35 seconds left. He went over to jaw at the Portland bench—specifically at Meyers Leonard—and his mouthguard came flying out.
Referee Brian Forte called a technical on Cousins, his second of the game, because, Forte said, he thought Cousins had thrown the mouthguard intentionally. That’s a standard tech, as Cousins well knows—he got one for flinging his mouthguard into the stands less than two months ago.
But Forte conferred with the other refs, and then with Portland coach Terry Stotts, and they came to the conclusion that it came right out of Cousins’s mouth. So they rescinded the tech, Cousins came back from the locker room (where he said he was thinking about what he was going to destroy in his frustration), sank his free throw to complete his three-point play, and the Kings hung on to win 126-121.
“I don’t really know what happened,” Cousins said. “I was caught up in the moment of what I was going to tear up in the locker room and they called me back.”
Here’s the sequence:
After the game, the Blazers were furious that Cousins was allowed back into the game. Stotts said the mouthguard shouldn’t have mattered at all, that Cousins should have earned a tech just for taunting.
“From my vantage point, I thought he taunted our bench and as he was taunting our bench the mouthpiece flew out,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “The referee asked me if it was his mouthpiece and I said that it was. Then he asked me if he threw it, then I said no he didn’t and that’s why he came back.
“Whether it was intentionally spitting it out or not, I don’t know the intention. But as he was taunting our bench the mouthpiece flew out.”
Leonard, too, said Cousins deserved the tech and the ejection.
In his interview after the game, Cousins called the sequence “ridiculous,” and then, I guess, intimated that this is evidence that the NBA or refs are out to get him, even though I can’t remember the last technical foul that was rescinded in-game.
“It’s obvious what’s being done out here. It’s on a nightly basis. I hope the world can see now what’s really going on out here ‘cause it’s getting ridiculous. It’s really ridiculous.”
Because things weren’t weird enough already, Cousins’s mic was cut off about 45 seconds in. Nothing nefarious there, though; sideline reporter Kayte Christensen said her battery pack was jostled loose.
You know, upon reflection, maybe this was all a pretty typical Tuesday for DeMarcus Cousins.