Chris Carlson Associated Press Kings center DeMarcus Cousins takes a hand to the jaw from the Clippers' Blake Griffin. Cousins didn't play in the second half.

Cousins sits out in second half of loss

Published: Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 - 11:07 am

LOS ANGELES – The DeMarcus Cousins drama continues.

Kings coach Keith Smart decided to leave Cousins in the locker room after halftime of Sacramento's 97-85 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night at Staples Center.

Cousins and Smart had a verbal altercation in the locker room, and it was serious enough for Smart to leave his leading scorer and rebounder there in a game the Kings trailed by 14.

"It was conduct detrimental to the team and we left it at that," Smart said without elaborating.

Smart did not say if Cousins would play Sunday against the Portland Trail Blazers.

"I'm going to focus on (Friday night)," Smart said. "And then I'll move forward to the next day."

Cousins said he "was in the wrong" during halftime.

"What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room, but I was wrong," Cousins said. "But what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room."

Cousins then was asked what he could do to avoid further situations where attention was on his actions off the court.

"Don't talk back," Cousins said. "That's the thing. I shouldn't have responded back. Should have accepted what was said and stayed quiet."

Cousins said the situation was humbling.

"I messed up," he said. "I'm apologizing to all my teammates for it, for responding the way I did, and we'll move on from it. … I grow from all of my mistakes."

Cousins said he hadn't spoken to Smart, who has been one of his biggest supporters, about the incident but said he would.

Cousins has already been suspended twice by the NBA. He earned a two-game banishment for leaving the locker room after a game to confront San Antonio television analyst Sean Elliott on Nov. 9.

Cousins just returned from a one-game suspension eight days ago for hitting Dallas guard O.J. Mayo in the groin on Dec. 10. Cousins said he didn't mean to hit Mayo.

Cousins has been fined numerous times by the team for spats with team personnel and most notably a physical altercation with former teammate Donte' Greene during his rookie season.

Cousins' relationship with former coach Paul Westphal led the coach to send him home from a game last season after he said Cousins asked to be traded for the second time.

And this was the second time in two trips to Los Angeles to play the Clippers (20-6) that Cousins has gotten on Smart's wrong side.

Cousins was benched for most of the first half Dec. 1 because of a lack of effort.

The Kings managed to cut the Clippers' lead to six in the third quarter but didn't have enough to overtake the hottest team in the NBA.

The Kings (8-18) already were without Tyreke Evans (sore left knee) and Francisco Garcia (sore lower back).

It was the eighth game this season and third in a row Evans missed since bumping knees with Minnesota forward Andrei Kirilenko on Nov. 27.

Garcia landed hard on his back in the second quarter of Wednesday's win over the Warriors.

The win was the Clippers' franchise-record 12th in a row.

Jimmer Fredette led the Kings with 16 points.

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