Kings center DeMarcus Cousins was understandably upset after taking a shot below the belt from Hawks rookie guard Dennis Schröder during Atlanta's 105-100 win on Tuesday.
But the physical pain wasn't Cousins' only beef, as he took issue with how the officials handled the situation and its aftermath, suggesting that he is being singled out by the referees based on his past behavior.
CowBellKingdom.com reports Cousins' post-game version of events.
“I took a cheap shot to my lower area,” Cousins told reporters from his locker after the game. “They (the refs) just blew it off. I guess because it was me. But as soon as something happens on the other end, because it’s me, they run to the camera.”
Early in the fourth quarter, Cousins set a high screen for Kings guard Isaiah Thomas, and Schröder attempted to fight through over the top. Schröder, the No. 17 pick in the 2013 draft, contacted Cousins' chest with his right hand while slipping his left hand between Cousins' legs. Cousins immediately doubled over and appeared to seek the referees' attention.
Soon after, Cousins was assessed a flagrant foul for shoving Al Horford to the floor as the two stood in the paint, although it appeared the Hawks' center enhanced the degree of contact by letting his body go and spinning himself to the ground. The flagrant foul was later (correctly) downgraded to a personal foul, but Kings coach Michael Malone would pull Cousins from the game with six minutes left and he did not return.
Here's a look at that sequence via SB Nation.
It's worth noting that Horford and Paul Millsap combined for 52 points and 21 rebounds against the Kings, while Cousins finished with 11 points and six rebounds in his second straight rough outing (he had eight points and seven rebounds in a Saturday loss to the Warriors).
Of course, Cousins has been on the giving end of a low-blow scenario. Last December, Cousins was suspended for one game after he delivered a low blow to then-Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo. At the time, he claimed that he was swinging his hand to clear Mayo's hand away from him and that the low blow wasn't intentional.
There's only so many times the same mantra can be repeated again and again: Cousins needs to be better. As is often the case, there's a legitimate, indisputable cause for his frustration; Schröder's play was out of line and it deserves discipline from the league, and Horford probably earned himself a flop warning. But Cousins' reaction -- the shove, his inability to keep his composure and be a leader down the stretch down the stretch, his continued "me against the world" crusade against the referees -- is misguided and detrimental on all counts.
Earlier this month, Cousins said playing for former owners the Maloofs "felt like an AAU team" and that the criticism the team received for its uncertain future was justified. Well, go ahead, take out the mirror. This was a middle school reaction from Cousins through and through, and the criticism that he receives for being unable to control his emotions during games will continue to be justified.
Video via theretireddroneal on Instagram