Three words from DeMarcus Cousins irked Los Angeles Clippers fans.
When asked about playing the Clippers following last Wednesday’s loss to Los Angeles in Sacramento’s season opener, Cousins said, “I hate them.”
So Cousins predictably was booed louder than any other Kings starter during pregame introductions Saturday at Staples Center.
Cousins’ disdain for the Clippers comes as no surprise to anyone who has followed his career. He has had some rough entanglements under the basket with Blake Griffin. And guard Chris Paul has gone out of his way to annoy Cousins while trying to draw technical fouls on the Kings center.
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“I like passion,” said Kings coach George Karl. “I like anything that keeps you having the edge of competition. I think it’s important. And people don’t understand that competitive mentality is a talent in this league. People say it’s an attitude; it’s a talent.”
Cousins isn’t the only player to share his lack of love for the Clippers. Golden State forward Draymond Green might be the Clippers’ most vocal critic, having taken verbal shots at coach Doc Rivers.
“I don’t think our players sit in their locker room and buy into what other players say,” said Clippers assistant coach Mike Woodson, an original Sacramento King. “ ... Players smart off sometimes and say things they shouldn’t say, but we can’t worry about that. We try to take it one game at a time and keep it moving.”
Honoring Flip – Karl and Rivers flew to Minnesota with Dallas coach Rick Carlisle for the funeral for Minnesota coach and executive Flip Saunders.
They used Dallas owner Mark Cuban’s private plane. Dallas is in Los Angeles to play the Lakers on Sunday.
“Today was a strange day,” Karl said. “Doc and I were on a plane together doing our scouting reports together. It was pretty interesting.”
Karl said the services for Saunders, who died last Sunday of cancer, were “classy” and “emotional.”
“Flip and my path were very similar,” Karl said. “Both CBA coaches, pretty good college players. I think we both went into coaching because we loved our school.”
Added Karl: “It was a good day. Doc and I will probably be a little tired on the bench tonight, but it was a good day.”
Karl said he can’t see a scenario where two opposing coaches would scout next to each other hours before their teams played.
“We both made a rule that we couldn’t watch video,” Karl said. “Rick Carlisle was watching video of the Lakers behind us from our game (Friday).”
Rebounding focus – Kings forward Omri Casspi entered Saturday’s game with 18 rebounds off the bench in the first two games of the season.
“It’s just something that Coach told me after the season ended and I tried to kind of emphasize that in the summer when I played with the (Israeli) national team,” Casspi said. “I averaged about 8.5 (rebounds), so just trying to do it again every night.”
Karl wants more rebounding from all his players this season instead of being focused on just getting back on offense.
“For us to run we’ve got to rebound,” Karl said. “And I thought last year we spent a lot of emphasis on letting Cuz be the rebounder.”
Karl likes what he’s seen from Casspi rebounding.
“Omri has a bit of a knack for rebounding,” Karl said. “He has a good feel for where the ball bounces.”
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