DeMarcus Cousins done for season after picking up 16th technical foul
DeMarcus Cousins has played the last game of his fourth NBA season.
The Kings starting center picked up his 16th technical foul of the year against the Minnesota Timberwolves last night, which results in an automatic suspension from the league. The NBA officially announced the suspension Monday afternoon.
The tech in question occurred late in the fourth quarter of Sunday night’s 106-103 win over the Timberwolves. With the Kings up six points, Cousins appeared to protest a no-call from referee J.T. Orr, who in turn decided to T him up for his behavior. Following the game, Cousins dodged questions from multiple reporters who asked him about receiving the tech.
“I just feel for him,” Kings head coach Michael Malone said when asked about the conversation he had with his starting center about picking up his technical foul. “And I told him, I said, ‘I know you’ve been trying so hard and you put so much into this about making steps in the right direction.’ And for it to kind of go down the way it went down tonight is unfortunate. But I just told him to keep his head up and that he should be proud of how he played tonight and of the effort that he’s put into being a better citizen, if you will, on the court. This is just one step and he’s gotta be able to handle that and recover from it.”
Cousins was visibly frustrated after receiving the tech, knowing that it meant an automatic suspension for the Kings’ final game of the season against the Phoenix Suns. However, he didn’t let the call rattle him en route to a 35-point, 15-rebound night. With the Kings holding a slim two-point lead, Cousins beat the Wolves’ defense off the dribble to score on a timely dunk with less than 24 seconds remaining in regulation to put the Kings up 102-98.
“I don’t know what you see,” Malone said of Cousins. “but for me being around him for as much as I am, I have seen progress in terms of his maturity and how he handles his emotions. For him to respond to getting that tech – and he was devastated by it, I could see it – for him to come back and make the plays he made to win the game is a definite positive.”
For more than a month and a half, Cousins had avoided picking up his dreaded 16th technical foul. The 23-year-old center was last T’d up during a Feb. 25 matchup with the Houston Rockets. The 21-game period from late February to mid April was the longest streak of no technical foul calls for Cousins in his four-year career.
“It would be disappointing,” Kings starting point guard Isaiah Thomas said when asked about the possibility of not having Cousins available for the final game of the season. “But we’ve had him out before, we’ve had Rudy (Gay) out before and even had myself out before so there’s no excuses. We gotta go out and play and try to win a ball game.”
Sacramento has struggled when Cousins has missed time due to either injury or suspension this year. The Kings have gone 0-10 this season when their 23-year-old center does not play.
The odds were stacked against Cousins and the Kings to get the foul call overturned. Cousins did not have any of his previous technical fouls rescinded by the league office this season.
In 71 contests this season, Cousins averaged a career-high 22.7 points and 11.7 rebounds in 32.4 minutes per game.