Blake Griffin‘s repeated murder of Pau Gasol on Wednesday wasn’t loved by everyone. The videos might’ve blown up Twitter and the Internet, but one man out in Sacramento wasn’t feeling the love. Maybe he was frustrated with being overlooked on a 19-36 team, or bitter, or simply jealous. DeMarcus Cousins could’ve been all of that, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter. He said what he said, which was that Griffin is babied by the NBA.
Last night in Sacramento, the seeds were planted for a future confrontation between the two young bigs. Cousins, already frustrated by foul trouble that limited him to 18 minutes, was going at Griffin all night with hard elbows and physical play. Kings’ coach Keith Smart called it a “football game.” By the end, the two were still jawing as they walked off the court, and Cousins appeared like he wanted to take it to the tunnel to tussle.
SI.com’s Sam Amick writes that Sacramento’s cornerstone has a specific reason for being pissed off at his All-Star counterpart:
“He’s babied,” Cousins told SI.com after the Kings fell to the Clippers 93-85. “He’s the poster child of the league. He sells tickets, but he’s babied. Bottom line.”
Babied by whom, Cousins was asked.
“The refs, the league — period,” he continued. “He gets away with [everything]. He taunts players. Nothing is done. He’s babied.”
For year one of Griffin – last season – you couldn’t find anyone who’d spew a negative comment in the Clipper forward’s direction. He brought life to a franchise, and kickstarted a new NBA YouTube age. But as his star grew, the negativity increased. He still can’t shoot free throws, still doesn’t play defense and still can’t take over a game outside of putting someone through the rim. Fans now detest his seemingly constant on-court complaining.
Then there’s the flopping. At one point in the Clippers’ 93-85 win, Griffin flopped to get a call even as Cousins contended he never touched him.
“Of course that’s what Blake is going to say because he’s in L.A., where actors belong,” Cousins told SI.com when told that Griffin was “moving on” to the rematch. “He’s an actor.”
Yesterday, I lamented the Kevin Garnett–Tim Duncan playoff battles we were cheated out of. Perhaps this one will develop into something not quite as great, but yet still similar. Griffin is what he is: an All-Star starter averaging 20.7 points and 10.9 rebounds. However, in the last nine games before last night, DMC was dropping 26.4 points and 12.2 rebounds a night, fueling talk that he’s become one of the league’s best young players.
The seeds are there for a rivalry. Now we just need to let it grow.
Is Cousins speaking the truth?
Follow Sean on Twitter at @SEANesweeney.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.