Kings anticipate suspension for Cousins after latest ejection
The Sacramento Kings host the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday and do not expect to have center DeMarcus Cousins available.
The NBA did not announce a suspension Monday, but the Kings anticipate the third-year center will miss at least one game for his flagrant foul 2 for an elbow to the head of Milwaukee forward Mike Dunleavy in Sunday's loss to the Bucks.
It would be Cousins' fourth suspension this season, his third from the league. The Kings do not have any additional discipline planned for their leading scorer and rebounder.
"In terms of the flagrants, the technicals, that's really the league's jurisdiction," Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie said. "That's pretty black and white."
Cousins was called for his 12th technical foul before being ejected, leaving him four away from an automatic one-game suspension.
The flagrant foul 2, worth two flagrant foul points, was Cousins' second this season. He also has a flagrant foul 1. One more point would mean an automatic one-game suspension.
"Hopefully, he'll get a chance to play against Chicago," guard Tyreke Evans said.
Whenever Cousins returns to the court, he'll need to control himself, the team said.
"It's an ongoing conversation with him and coaches and any number of people in the office about him trying to contain his emotions," Petrie said.
Agents, teammates, opposing players and retired legends have all tried to counsel Cousins. But this season Cousins is second in the NBA in technical fouls and leads the league with four ejections.
"You can give a person as much advice as you can," forward Jason Thompson said. "From us, to coaches, to Hall of Famers, to whatever. But at the end of the day, you're in this league because you're a grown man. You're going to do what you want to do."
Cousins' behavior has worn on Kings teammates since he was drafted fifth overall out of Kentucky in 2010. And it has worn on two head coaches.
Coach Keith Smart finds himself at a loss about what to do with Cousins. The center has taken veiled shots at Smart — the same coach he praised a year ago after he replaced Paul Westphal — in the media. Cousins wants more playing time and has been angry about it. Smart wants consistent effort and more than once has scolded Cousins about not running the floor hard, among other issues, as it relates to working harder in practice and games.
After bumping knees with Dunleavy, who was trying to block out Cousins from a rebound, late in the third quarter Sunday, Cousins barked at Dunleavy and the Bucks' bench when timeout was called. He was miffed at Dunleavy going low to box him out.
Cousins repeatedly told Smart he could continue playing, and the coach took the chance. Cousins continued to jaw at Dunleavy, and it took just eight seconds once play resumed for his elbow to find Dunleavy's head.
"Could we really say we knew what was going to happen next?" Smart said. " ... What if he went back in the game and nothing happened?"
Guard Isaiah Thomas, one of the teammates with whom Cousins has had a good relationship, would love to see Cousins' maturity not be an issue.
"I don't know what it's going to take," Thomas said. "He's ... one of the best big men in the league. He has to be smarter in certain situations, so one day, I hope it does click or something."
Cavs' Irving could miss rest of seasonKyrie Irving could miss the next month — and maybe the rest of this season — with a sprained left shoulder, the latest injury to sideline the Cleveland Cavaliers' All-Star guard who has missed 29 games in his first two NBA seasons with injuries and could sit out 19 more in 2013.
Irving got hurt in a loss at Toronto on Sunday night, when he collided with Raptors rookie forward Jonas Valanciunas while trying to drive the baseline in the third quarter. Irving slammed his shoulder into the 257-pound Valanciunas and was knocked out of bounds.
X-rays following the game were negative, but an MRI taken Monday in Cleveland revealed a left AC (acromioclavicular) sprain. The Cavs project Irving to be out three to four weeks, but with just a little over a month left in the season, it's more likely the team will protect its best player and sit him the remainder of the season.
"We just have to wait and see what happens," Cavs Coach Byron Scott said following practice. "I don't want to speculate and say, 'Hey, if he can get back he'll get back. If he can't, he can't.' We're just going to have to wait until it's completely healed and go from there."
■ Spencer Hawes had 24 points and 10 rebounds, Jrue Holiday added 15 points and 11 assists and the Philadelphia 76ers beat the visiting Brooklyn Nets 106-97 on Monday night. Hawes set a season high for points and also had seven assists while helping the Sixers snap a five-game losing streak. Deron Williams had 27 points and 13 assists for the Nets, who had won three in a row.
Bat Cats host Ohio, Cincinnati this week
The seventh-ranked Kentucky baseball team will host a pair of midweek games. The Cats will play Ohio on Tuesday and Cincinnati on Wednesday. Both games will start at 4 p.m. at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Kentucky (13-2) is coming off a 2-1 series victory over Michigan State, a 2012 NCAA Tournament team that won 37 games a year ago.
UK will start freshman southpaw Ryne Combs (0-0, 1.12 ERA) on Tuesday and freshman righty Kyle Cody (1-0, 7.00 ERA) Wednesday.
Combs, the 2012 Mr. Baseball out of Bryan Station High School, will be making his second career start and his fifth appearance. He has worked eight innings, allowing 12 hits and one earned run, walking one and striking out three.
■ Kentucky's 15th-ranked softball team (18-4, 2-1 SEC) will host North Carolina at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Freshman infielder Christian Stokes was named Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week after batting .833 (5-for-6) against Mississippi this past weekend. She hit her first career homer and had three runs batted in.The last word
Dwight Howard has a pretty good idea of what awaits Tuesday in Orlando when the Los Angels Lakers play the Magic. It'll be piercing and it'll be angry, the antithesis of the Disney World city. Howard said:
"I'm going to start listening to 'boo' tapes. ... My dad said I might as well get earplugs. I think it'll be tough for everybody. I heard they have chants ready, so it should be interesting."