AUBURN HILLS, Mich. With four seconds left in the second quarter Tuesday night, Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas landed hard on the floor thanks to a forearm from Detroit forward Charlie Villanueva.
Villanueva was assessed a flagrant foul 2 and automatically ejected. Thomas jumped up angrily to confront Villanueva, who at 6-foot-11 and 232 pounds has a distinct physical advantage over Thomas (5-9, 185).
The Kings said it wasn't the first hard foul by Villanueva. Thomas said the fact he was airborne on the play wasn't the worst part for him.
"No, it was just the fact that it was a dirty play and he's a dirty player," Thomas said. "It is what it is. He got kicked out of the game, so it wasn't nothing big. A lot of guys do stuff like that knowing you can't really fight in this league, so it's all right."
The first player to react to the foul was center DeMarcus Cousins, who sprinted from the three-point line to protect his teammate.
"I'm always going to be the first one to react," said Cousins, who pulled Thomas away from Villanueva.
"I can't really say what was going though my mind," Cousins said of the foul. "I'm just glad the situation was handled."
Kings coach Keith Smart said he wanted to review the film to make sure none of his players left the bench. Players leaving the bench during an altercation are automatically suspended for a game by the NBA.
"A guy made a hard foul on a guy driving to the basket with a guy pretty much unprotected," Smart said. "I understand they're trying to protect the paint, but sometimes you've got to go up and block the shot, try to block the shot. That wasn't called for because it wasn't the first time. It happened another time as well."
Thomas appeared to take a swing at Villanueva but denied doing that.
"I didn't swing on him," he said. "That's one thing I didn't do. In the heat of the battle, in the heat of the moment, it is what it is."
Injury update Guard Marcus Thornton (sprained left ankle) did not dress for the game and was in a walking boot.
Guard Tyreke Evans today will be in Los Angeles to meet with Dr. Steve Lombardo, a knee specialist, for a second opinion on his sore left knee.
Evans has missed 13 games because of problems with his left knee. He last played Dec. 16.