The USA cruised past Lithuania in the FIBA World Cup semifinals yesterday, 96-68, and it got a little feisty after the game concluded. Before Coach K did his Van Gundy impression, though, DeMarcus Cousins came very close to slugging Lithuanian and Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas and undoing all the good will he’s engendered during his first international tournament.
Jonas, an imposing 7-0 250-pound Goliath, was battling Boogie under the boards in the second half when his arm wedged under the chin of Cousins as they were trying to establish position on a rebound. DeMarcus took offense, and once it was a dead ball looked about ready for the pugilistic portion of his Spain trip.
Despite his size, the anger on DeMarcus’ face was enough for Jonas to flinch, probably the first time he’s flinched away from a physical altercation since he hit puberty.
But Cousins held himself in check, even if it looked like he was about ready to end his FIBA experience early while probably ensuring he’s never invited back to another international event ever again.
For a player that’s worked so hard to overcome both real and imagined notions of where his head’s at, this could have been a disaster for DeMarcus Cousins. Fortunately for everyone involved, he didn’t let the jostling under the rim totally undo him.
Boogie would finish with seven points (3/5) and six rebounds in 13 minutes of action. Except, he also fouled out in those 13-plus minutes, which is a whole lot better than getting tossed out if he had hit Valanciunas. That probably wouldn’t have been just the premature end of his game, but also his time as a member of USA Basketball.
What do you think?
Follow Spencer on Twitter at @SpencerTyrel.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.