Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins has a bit of a reputation as a volatile personality, and his recent antics in Tuesday's game against the Houston Rockets have cost him a one-game suspension and a $20,000 fine.
Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated reports on Thursday that the suspension came to Cousins because he threw a punch at Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley in the first quarter.
The punch to Beverley's stomach may have been retaliation for when Cousins injured his ankle and Beverley stood over him in a game between the two teams earlier this season, per The Sacramento Bee's Jason Jones:
Beverley stood over Cousins with a menacing look after Cousins sprained his ankle in Houston .....— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) February 27, 2014
Sean Cunningham of Sacramento's News 10 ABC affiliate documented the history Cousins has had of such actions:
But, there is history of shots to guys: OJ Mayo, Vince Carter, Mike Dunleavy. Athough certainly was victim to Dennis Schroeder #NBAKings— Sean Cunningham (@News10Sean) February 27, 2014
As it was, Cousins was on the brink of being assessed an automatic one-game suspension, thanks to the two technical fouls he accumulated versus Houston. If Cousins gets another technical, he will be suspended for an additional game, and every two after that will result in an additional one-game suspension, per Jones.
The misbehavior that impacted Cousins' pocketbook was a temper tantrum thrown at official Courtney Kirkland, which led to his ejection in the third quarter of Tuesday's 129-103 loss at Sleep Train Arena.
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A phantom foul was called on Cousins as fellow star center Dwight Howard soared to the basket. It may have benefited the Kings in that instance—other than Cousins picking up a foul—since Howard is an awful free-throw shooter.
However, the punch and ejection are yet more examples of the talented Cousins not quite showing the maturity expected of him in the midst of his fourth pro season. The former University of Kentucky standout and No. 5 overall pick in the 2010 draft is still just 23 years old and has not been in a winning situation in Sacramento ever since his arrival.
That still doesn't give him an excuse to keep having episodes such as this, but at least Cousins recognized his wrongdoing, as he issued an apology on Twitter:
Disappointed with the way I acted out on the court tonight. I want to apologize and say sorry to my team and the fans for letting them down— demarcus cousins (@boogiecousins) February 26, 2014
Cousins won't be available for Friday's contest against the Los Angeles Lakers in what will be a battle of the Western Conference's two worst teams.
both teams are among the worst defensive squads in the Association—something Cousins could help with but doesn't on a consistent enough basis. At this point in his career, Cousins needs a spark and as many competitive reps as he can gather to accumulate experience and continue developing. Although he's only missing the one game now, he's in grave danger of missing another very soon with another on-court tirade.
Basketball purists would love to see Cousins reach his potential. To do that, he must become more of a leader by showing more effort and improving his attitude on the court.