The Kings were more than ready to put Tuesday’s blowout loss to the Houston Rockets behind them, especially considering DeMarcus Cousins picked up his 14th and 15th technical fouls of the season and had to be physically removed from the court following his ejection.
The NBA, however, had the final say and Thursday fined and suspended Cousins for two separate incidents from the game.
Cousins was suspended without pay for tonight’s game at the Los Angeles Lakers for punching Houston guard Patrick Beverley in the stomach during the first quarter. Cousins also was fined $20,000 for verbal abuse of game officials and failing to leave the court in a timely manner after he was ejected during the third quarter for being assessed two technical fouls.
The one-game suspension will cost Cousins 1/82 of his $4,916,973 salary for the 2013-14 season – approximately $59,964.
Cousins was not made available for comment by the team following the announcement of the suspension, which came just after the Kings’ practice .
The fine was expected, but the suspension caught the Kings by surprise. The team wasn’t aware of a punch – especially considering no foul was called – until the league notified the Kings they were investigating the incident. The Kings were expecting Cousins to play tonight.
Compared to his first three seasons, it had been a relatively uneventful season for Cousins in terms of discipline from the Kings and NBA. The team spoke to Cousins about his interaction with fans that became profane at times, but the center did not miss any games for disciplinary reasons.
Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro said ownership, front office and coach Michael Malone remain committed to Cousins and believe the suspension is not a sign of more problems to come.
“DeMarcus, me, (owner) Vivek (Ranadive), the coach, we all have great communication and continue to have great communication,” D’Alessandro said. “He’s a young man that’s made great strides, and we won’t let this setback get in the way of his progress.”
This is the third time the NBA has suspended Cousins in the last two seasons – the second time was for punching O.J. Mayo of the Dallas Mavericks below the belt.
Tuesday was not the first incident between Cousins and Beverley. In a Jan. 22 game at Houston, Beverley was called for a personal foul after striking Cousins in the face. When Cousins went down, he suffered a badly sprained ankle that resulted in six missed games.
Beverley, who stood over Cousins while he lay injured, was called for a technical foul for taunting.
Video from Tuesday night’s game at Sleep Train Arena shows Cousins punching Beverley in the stomach as he ran through the lane with 9:44 left in the first quarter.
Cousins also came close to being ejected last Saturday after continued chippy play against Boston’s Kris Humphries. Cousins managed to escape with one technical foul, even though he shoved Humphries in front of an official after the Celtic fouled Cousins.
Boston coach Brad Stevens became so frustrated that Cousins wasn’t ejected that it led to his own double technical and ejection.
Cousins leads the NBA with 15 technical fouls. His 16th would lead to a one-game suspension. Every two technical fouls after the 16th would result in another one-game suspension.