There’s a fine line any NBA player walks between getting his point across and outright criticizing officials and incurring a fine from the NBA.
DeMarcus Cousins toed that line Saturday night, his frustration obvious after the Kings lost to the Golden State Warriors, 128-116, at Sleep Train Arena.
Cousins was an All-Star last season, but many nights he doesn’t believe he gets the respect many stars receive from officials.
No amount of yelling by Cousins, Kings coach George Karl or even general manager Vlade Divac could sway the whistles in Cousins’ favor. He played only 2:16 of the third quarter after being called for his fourth foul.
Never miss a local story.
Cousins was called for a technical foul with 37.3 seconds left to play after taking a jump shot and being knocked down with no foul being called.
He was asked if he can get his message across without being fined by the league.
“They don’t care man,” Cousins said. “It’s bigger than us and we all know that. It’s not just about going out there and just playing basketball. It’s bigger than us. … It ain’t about who’s the better team.”
Amid foul trouble, Cousins finished with 33 points, 10 rebounds and three steals. The Kings played the Warriors tight most of the night except for the third quarter, when the Kings were outscored 36-26. The Kings trailed 65-62 when Cousins was called for his fourth foul.
“How did it get out of hand?” Cousins asked. “We all know how it got out of hand.”
Golden State shot 56.3 percent for the game, including 19 of 37 from three-point range (51.4 percent). It was too much to overcome with Cousins on the bench.
Stephen Curry had a game-high 38 points and team-high 11 assists. Draymond Green had 25 points and nine rebounds.
“(The Warriors) have a tremendous knack of finding what mistake or what flaw you have or what concepts you’re trying,” Karl said. “They pass the ball extremely well and are probably the best shooting team I’ve ever seen. Not only the two great ones (Curry and Klay Thompson), but it’s contagious. And if you just leave or help just a little bit too much, they deliver the ball into the chest; they deliver it on time and on the spot. And they fire.”
The win gave the Warriors a 4-0 sweep of the season series. The Kings (15-22) have dropped 12 in a row to the Warriors (35-2).
Rudy Gay had 23 points and nine rebounds and Rajon Rondo had a game-high 12 assists. Darren Collison had 16 points and six assists off the bench.
“I think we had an incredible effort tonight through all the adversity … we had to face tonight. I thought we had a great game,” Cousins said.
The Kings made a late run to cut a 16-point deficit in the fourth to 118-113 with 2:59 to play. The Warriors scored the next four points to seal the victory.
“There were some plays made that kind of sealed the deal, so of course you’re going to be frustrated,” Cousins said. “We worked too hard to be treated liked that.”
Cousins only played in two of the four games against the Warriors this season. He missed the first due to an Achilles’ tendon injury. He was ejected from the third contest in Oakland, arguing with an official over fouls.
“I feel like we lost the same way every game,” Cousins said.
Cousins was reminded he missed two of those games.
“I wasn’t in there tonight either,” Cousins said. “Same reason. I think we lost the same way every time.”
Cousins was asked if he was glad to be done playing the Warriors for the season.
“Yeah, (they’re) somebody else’s problem now,” Cousins said.
But should the Kings snag the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, there’s a good chance the Warriors will be waiting on them.
Certainly, Cousins would welcome the chance to play the Warriors at least four more times.