DeMarcus Cousins doesn’t feel totally responsible for his dustup with Kevin Durant during the New Orleans Pelicans’ Monday night loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Both players were ejected after exchanging words and having to be restrained by teammates late in the fourth quarter. They also continued jawing at each other after being thrown out. Here’s a clip of the kerfuffle:
Though Cousins lamented his involvement in the altercation on Tuesday—along with him being assessed two technicals—he also made a point to deflect most of the blame toward Durant, per The Times-Picayune‘s William Guillory:
Cousins said after Tuesday’s practice that he tries to avoid being confrontational when teams push his buttons, but he’ll have to do a better job going forward.
“It sucks it happened,” Cousins said. “I try to go out my way to do things the right way and I felt most of it was instigated from the other end. But they felt like we both were in the wrong. It is what it is.” . . .
“I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m trying to do, which is the right thing on a nightly basis,” Cousins said. “I see altercations come my way, I try to go the opposite way from it. I know I have a reputation in this league, and I know I’ll never get the benefit of the doubt, so I’ve just got to keep trying to do the right thing.”
Cousins now leads the NBA in technical fouls, with eight. The league suspends players for one game after they reach 16 Ts on the season, a milestone Cousins is now on pace to surpass fewer than 50 contests into the year. He’ll have to be careful how he handles himself in these situations moving forward. He might be off about his level of responsibility in this particular matter, but he’s not wrong about his reputation preceding him.
Refs are more likely to have a quick whistle when it comes to him and his history for on-court outbursts. Fair or not (it’s probably somewhere in between), Cousins must be cognizant of that, because the Pelicans, as it stands, are basically a two-man team. They cannot afford to lose him as they chase a playoff berth, not even for one game.