Kings center DeMarcus Cousins has been suspended by the NBA for one game and will not play in Thursday night’s contest against the Heat in Miami, the league’s executive vice president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe announced in a press release.
Cousins struck Atlanta forward Al Horford on the side of the head with what looked to be an intentional right elbow in Wednesday night’s 103-97 loss to the Hawks to end the Kings’ three-game winning streak.
The incident (watch the videos at the bottom of this story) happened with about two minutes remaining in the first quarter at Philips Arena in Atlanta, when Cousins made a short, one-handed jump shot to give the Kings a 25-21 lead. His arm tangled with Horford on the follow through and Cousins, who appeared to be frustrated by the contact, threw the elbow to clear space between himself and Horford.
Cousins, who finished the game with 24 points and 12 rebounds, later explained his side of the incident.
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“It was basically a reaction,” he said. “I was trying to get him off me because when I shot the shot I (got hit) in this area (pointing to his neck and collarbone). I was just trying to get him off.”
Cousins will not be paid during the suspension and will lose roughly $178,620 of his $14,728,844 salary this season.
This will be the fifth game Cousins will miss for the Kings this season. He previously missed four games with an Achillies’ strain. The Kings (4-8) lost all four games without Cousins.