MILWAUKEE Some of the NBA's biggest stars have praised Kings center DeMarcus Cousins while telling him to get his act together on the court if he hopes to fulfill his potential.
But Dallas Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo isn't a star in the NBA. And Cousins didn't like it when Mayo said Monday night that the center had "mental issues."
Mayo was upset that Cousins caught him with a shot to the groin area in the second quarter of the Kings' loss. Cousins said after the game and reiterated after practice Tuesday that he didn't do it on purpose.
"In slow motion, it looks like I did it on purpose," Cousins said. "But you look in real speed, you see what happened. Of course it's gonna get thrown out there that I did it on purpose."
Cousins said he swung backward to knock Mayo's hand away.
Perhaps Mayo never heard Cousins' explanation, but that didn't stop Mayo from saying Cousins is a "garbage player" when he resorts to such tactics.
"I heard," Cousins said. "This coming from a guy that doesn't have a great image himself. So what does his really mean? I'm fine with it."
Mayo had problems with the NCAA in his one season at USC, which later determined he was ineligible for receiving improper benefits. In January 2011, Mayo was involved in a fight on Memphis' team plane with teammate Tony Allen over a gambling debt. Later that month, Mayo was suspended for 10 games after testing positive for a steroid.
After Monday's game, Mayo said Cousins could be a franchise player, "but I don't think he wants it."
"Is he a franchise player?" Cousins said. "So how is he going to tell me what I am?"
Cousins said he hadn't heard from the NBA and doesn't expect to be disciplined.
Cousins also exchanged expletives with Dallas coach Rick Carlisle during Monday's game.
"We made a run (in the third quarter)," Cousins said. "I started clapping, and the man said, 'Eff off.' I said, 'Eff you,' and that was it. And I still got scrutinized like I did something wrong."
Kings coach Keith Smart said he wasn't concerned about how Cousins handled himself.
"It's unfortunate that stuff gets out like that because there was conversation all over the floor (Monday) night," Smart said. "Obviously, one of our lightning rods is going to be right there. So it's probably going to be taken to a level that it shouldn't be, but there was a lot of conversation happening on the floor (Monday) night."
Smart said Cousins' reputation played a role in turning Monday's incidents into a national story.
Cousins' reputation was further tarnished after his postgame verbal confrontation with San Antonio TV analyst Sean Elliott last month.
Smart said it will take time before Cousins gets the benefit of the doubt.
"We just saw that (in the) NFL a couple weeks ago with the young man in Detroit (Ndamukong Suh)," Smart said. "A play happens, and right away because of his history, it's something. It's bigger than what it is.
"As a coach in the NBA, I really don't have time for that. I've got 14 individual corporations I've got to worry about and try to manage, and the last thing I want to manage is conversations, what guys are saying about why a guy did this or that. I'm moving to the next game."
Cousins said he's not worried about his name being sullied by this incident.
"I'm good," he said. "I know I don't play like that. I'm not even that type of player."
Evans update Guard Tyreke Evans, who has been bothered by a sore left knee, practiced Tuesday and is expected to play tonight against Milwaukee.
"I should be able to go," he said. "Just by going through practice, it feels like I can go. Once I warmed up, I felt pretty good."