DeMarcus Cousins Scores 55 Points, Leads Sacramento Kings To 126-121 Victory Over Portland Trail Bla
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Sacramento, Calif. — It didn’t matter whether DeMarcus Cousins knew or not that Sacramento Bee reporter Andy Furillo was inside Golden 1 Center when the Sacramento Kings took on the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.
That was not the focus of Cousins at all. His mind was totally on the Trail Blazers and he went out to handle his on-court business in a major way.Cousins had a season-high 55 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocked shots to guide the Kings to a 126-121 victory over the Trail Blazers. He is now the only player in the team’s history to have multiple 55-point games.
The victory also arrived hours after Cousins issued an apology after he was hit with a $50,000 fine for a confrontation with Furillo in the Kings locker room on Dec. 12.
Aside that matter with The Bee, after the win, it appeared that Cousins was more about teaching Portland’s forward Meyers Leonard a thing or two. In the past, Leonard has played well against Cousins and his performance was beginning like he had the Kings’ center’s number.
Cousins was determined to undermine that thought.
“I know what their game plan is every night,” Cousins said following the game. “They are hyping up there big man (Leonard) over there. He thinks he’s a stopper? It’s not happening. I brought him back to reality.”
DeMarcus Cousins has some words with Portland head coach Terry Stotts and his players in fourth quarter at Golden 1 Center. Cousins mouthpiece fell out of his mouth during his interaction with the team. Photo art by T. Ray Harvey. Dec. 20, 2016.
Ty Lawson came off the bench to score 16 important points and dish out eight assists for the Kings (11-17). Anthony Tolliver and Willie Cauley-Stein scored 11 points each. It was a high-scoring game, but the Kings were only down by as many as 12 points.
The Kings gave themselves plenty of room to pull out this victory. The Trail Blazers led 72-60 at the break. Cousins had 24 points in the first half of action.
“You know, it was a crazy game,” said Kings head coach Dave Joerger. “We tried to lull them to sleep. Giving them 72 points in the first half was not the game plan. But we kept coming. Certainly, we executed at the end of the game. The last couple of minutes we made shots, which always helps, and that’s positive for us.”
C.J. McCollum had 36 points and four assists while Damian Lillard had 24 points, 15 assists, and four rebounds for Portland (13-17). Mason Plumlee added 27 points, five rebounds, and five assists for Portland.
There were seven lead changes and five ties in the fourth quarter. After Cousins made a four-foot shot to give the Kings a 121-119 lead with 35.2 seconds left to play in the game, he went towards the Trail Blazers’ bench shouting with a high-spirited emotion.
Once Cousins got close to Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts, his mouthpiece flew out his mouth, the referees called a technical foul, and then tossed Cousins out of the game citing that he was taunting the Trail Blazers. Cousins was only gone momentarily.
Cousins ran to the locker room, but was called back to play after the officials looked at a replay of the sequence. Cousin, with the crowd chanting “MVP,” came back to make the free throw, which gave him 55 points on the night.
Lawson and Garrett Temple made two free throws each in the last 11.6 seconds to close out the game after Lillard missed three shots.
“When I was going to the locker room I was thinking what I was going to break up first,” Cousins said. “But when I heard I had to come back to shoot free throws I had to calm myself down. But I saw the replay and I can see why people could be mad. I was just talking to the bench and it (mouthpiece) came out. No intent. I would never spit on anybody. I'm not like that.”
Stotts, who was up-close-and-within-distance disengaged mouthpiece had another take on the situation, though he couldn’t gauge how Cousins was using it.
“From my vantage point, I though he taunted our bench and he was taunting our bench,” Stotts said. “The refs asked me was it a mouthpiece and I said it was. Whether it was intentionally spitting it out or not, I don’t know the intention.”
Meyers, who Cousins drew his ire from, thought he was the person singled out, took the brunt of the Kings' center tongue lashing during the sequence while he was sitting on the bench. Meyers was 0-for-3 shooting from the field, two rebounds, two assists, and five fouls in 19 minutes.
"He's a skilled player, had a good game," Leonard said. "But his antics are over the top. He's disrespectful. Out of line. The list of words go on. I can't respect someone like that."
By T. Ray Harvey | PA Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist
DEMARCUS COUSINS ISSUES STATEMENT
The Kings are is still waiting on word from the NBA to see if the league will impose a penalty. Cousins issued an apology statement hours before the Kings tipped off at Golden 1 Center against the Trail Blazers.
The apology by the two-time All Star center did not extend to Furillo.
“There is a time, place and manner to say everything, and I chose the wrong ones,” Cousins said in the written statement. “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 look forward to moving on and focusing on basketball.”
Furillo, a veteran reporter for The Bee was not at the Kings-Trail Blazers game. Not related to the issue he had with Cousins, sources say Furillo had mention weeks ago that he was going back to cover news for the local newspaper. He had cover crimes and courts for years before he began writing a sports column for The Bee.
Kings head coach Dave Joerger said he is “not going to spend another thought” on the issue. A day before, Joerger did say Cousins’ actions were “excessive” and he did not think the Bee was practicing fair reporting in regard to the seventh-year player out of Kentucky.
“I think we dealt with it and the more you talk about it the bigger it exasperates itself,” Joerger said before the Kings played Portland. “I said what I had to say on it, moved on, DeMarcus had to say what he had to say on it and we roll on.”
When members of the media interviewed Cousins after the Portland Trail Blazers games he was all smiles.
"Hi friends," he said.
When asked about the fine, Cousins said nothing but smiled and gave a thumbs up gesture.
I'm happy, man. I'm going to leave here and spend time with my daughter for the Holidays.
Rudy Gay missed his fourth-consecutive game due to a right hip flexor strain. He did say "I might give it go" when the Kings play Utah on Dec. 21.
T. Ray (Antonio) Harvey is a Public Information Officer and Photo Artist for Publicity Agents. Harvey is also the author of The HOMICIDAL HANDYMAN OF OAK PARK: MORRIS SOLOMON JR.