Kings expect Cousins to be suspended for one game

Published: Tuesday, Mar. 12, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 - 11:15 am

The Kings host the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday and do not expect to have center DeMarcus Cousins available.

The NBA did not announce a suspension Monday, but the Kings anticipate the third-year center will miss at least one game for his flagrant foul 2 for an elbow to the head of Milwaukee forward Mike Dunleavy in Sunday's loss to the Bucks.

It would be Cousins' fourth suspension this season, his third from the league. The Kings do not have any additional discipline planned for their leading scorer and rebounder.

"In terms of the flagrants, the technicals, that's really the league's jurisdiction," Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie said. "That's pretty black and white."

Cousins was called for his 12th technical foul before being ejected, leaving him four away from an automatic one-game suspension.

The flagrant foul 2, worth two flagrant foul points, was Cousins' second this season. He also has a flagrant foul 1. One more point would mean an automatic one-game suspension.

"Hopefully, he'll get a chance to play against Chicago," guard Tyreke Evans said.

Whenever Cousins returns to the court, he'll need to control himself.

"It's an ongoing conversation with him and coaches and any number of people in the office about him trying to contain his emotions," Petrie said.

Agents, teammates, opposing players and retired legends have all tried to counsel Cousins. But this season, Cousins is second in the NBA in technical fouls and leads the league with four ejections.

"You can give a person as much advice as you can," forward Jason Thompson said. "From us, to coaches, to Hall of Famers, to whatever. But at the end of the day, you're in this league because you're a grown man. You're going to do what you want to do."

Cousins' behavior has worn on Kings teammates since he was drafted fifth overall out of Kentucky in 2010. And it has worn on two head coaches.

Coach Keith Smart finds himself at a loss about what to do with Cousins. The center has taken veiled shots at Smart – whom Cousins praised a year ago after Smart replaced Paul Westphal – in the media.

Cousins wants more playing time and has been angry about it. Smart wants consistent effort in practice and games and more than once has scolded Cousins about not running the floor hard.

But the harder Smart pushes, the harder Cousins seems to push back.

After bumping knees with Dunleavy, who was trying to block out Cousins from a rebound, late in the third quarter Sunday, Cousins barked at Dunleavy and the Bucks' bench when timeout was called.

Cousins repeatedly told Smart he could continue playing, and the coach took the chance.

Cousins continued to jaw at Dunleavy, and it took just eight seconds once play resumed for his elbow to find Dunleavy's head.

"Could we really say we knew what was going to happen next?" Smart said. " … What if he went back in the game and nothing happened?"

Cousins was miffed at Dunleavy going low to box him out. But there's never any way to know what will set Cousins off.

"It's more about trying to get to the right cause and have some high-level understanding to eliminate the things that feed into that," Petrie said.

Guard Isaiah Thomas, one of the teammates with whom Cousins has had a good relationship, would love to see Cousins' maturity not be an issue.

"I don't know what it's going to take," Thomas said. "He's a hell of a player, one of the best big men in the league. He has to be smarter in certain situations, so one day, I hope it does click or something.

"But I think it's in his control. It's in nobody's control but (his). And I think it will click, hopefully soon."

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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