Paul Kitagaki Jr. / pkitagaki@sacbee.com

DeMarcus Cousins says his standing in the league would be helped if the Kings were winning. Paul Kitagaki Jr. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

Kings' Cousins defends his elbow to Dunleavy's head

Published: Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 - 11:15 am

When discussing the latest blowup involving DeMarcus Cousins, Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie said there was "no defense for the indefensible."

But Cousins spent approximately four minutes defending his elbow to the back of Milwaukee forward Mike Dunleavy's head that led to a flagrant foul 2 and an automatic ejection Sunday.

Cousins spoke after Tuesday's practice, which he sat out because of a bruised left leg suffered when Dunleavy went low to box out Cousins in the third quarter. That maneuver triggered the Dunleavy-Cousins incident.

The NBA did not announce Tuesday if it will discipline Cousins, but he is expected to be suspended for tonight's game against the Chicago Bulls.

Cousins believes he is a victim of a negative perception by league officials that led to the flagrant foul 2 and his league-leading fourth ejection this season.

"The whole decision was based off my reputation, which is unfair," Cousins said.

Cousins yelled angrily at the Bucks' bench after the boxout but maintained he was calm and in control of the situation.

After a timeout, Cousins confronted Dunleavy while walking back onto the court, where Cousins asked if the low boxout was intentional.

"Actually, I was cool about it because I really didn't know if he did it on purpose," Cousins said. "And that's what I asked him, 'Was that on purpose?' And his response was, 'What if it was? What you going to do about it?' "

The confrontation led to both players being assessed with technical fouls.

Cousins was confused about the technical, his 12th, tied for second-most in the NBA.

"I don't even know what I got a technical for," Cousins said. "I just asked him a question. After he said what he said, I said, 'I got you,' and I walked away."

Eight seconds after play resumed, Cousins caught Dunleavy with an elbow to the back of the head.

"He got him good," Kings guard Isaiah Thomas said. "That's all I can say. He got him with an elbow. Hopefully, his consequences aren't too bad."

Cousins said the elbow wasn't "really" intentional.

"If you see the replay, it's really not as hard as he acted it out to be," Cousins said. "It really wasn't."

So if the elbow wasn't meant for Dunleavy's head, what was Cousins doing? Did he know Dunleavy was there?

"I was just trying to get around the screen," Cousins said.

If there was no intent, was it just a coincidence the elbow came right after Cousins confronted Dunleavy?

"It was really bad timing," Cousins said.

Thomas chuckled when was told Cousins said the elbow was not on purpose, adding, "I can't comment on that."

Kings coach Keith Smart was trying to focus on preparing for tonight's game, but his media time was dominated by questions about Cousins.

Smart said even if Cousins is not suspended, his starting center would be doubtful for tonight because of the leg injury.

Smart was careful not to get into determining any intent when he was told Cousins said his elbow wasn't on purpose.

"I can't go against it if he said that," Smart said. "I'm not condoning it. I'm not on one side or the other."

Cousins said his reputation resulted in the ejection partly because referee Scott Foster was involved again. Foster hit Cousins with a second technical Feb. 4 at Utah that led to the center's previous ejection.

Cousins said winning would help change his standing in the league.

"(Losing) doesn't help the reputation," Cousins said. "Once you start winning, they praise you."

Petrie said the team is still supporting Cousins, but there was no defending his latest actions.

Cousins has blamed coaches and the organization for some of the problems this season, which Petrie said is his right.

"There's certain lines that you just can't cross, and some of those lines got crossed (Sunday) night," Petrie said. "He's certainly entitled to his opinion. But everyone has a role in how things go, how the team progresses and how professional you are in your approach."

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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