DeMarcus Cousins ejected 3 minutes into 3rd game back from long layoff

Jason Owens
·3-min read

DeMarcus Cousins suited up Monday for his third game back in the NBA after missing all of last season with a torn ACL.

He didn’t last long.

The Houston Rockets center played three minutes in a 113-100 loss to the Dallas Mavericks before getting ejected in a renewal of his often-contentious relationship with league officials.

Cousins picked up his first technical foul early in the second quarter after jawing with fellow former Kentucky Wildcat Willie Cauley-Stein. He also gave Cauley-Stein a little shove.

The dustup resulted in double technicals.

Not three minutes later, Cousins picked up his second technical after protesting a non-call when he thought he was fouled on a drive to the basket.

What prompted the second technical?

Microphones didn’t pick up what Cousins said. But judging strictly by video, that was a quick whistle, especially considering that it led to Cousins’ ejection.

Was this a case of officials carrying on longstanding beef with Cousins, or did the Rockets center utter a magic word to earn the automatic T?

According to officiating crew chief John Goble, Cousins’ words weren’t the culprit. It appears that his gesture of raising his hands above his head drew the whistle.

“DeMarcus Cousins received a technical foul for an overt gesture directed at an official in resentment of a non-call,” Goble told reporters.

Here’s the NBA’s stance on officiating “overt gestures,” which cites an air punch as example of an infraction warranting a technical foul.

“Players can react to calls with which they disagree, provided the reaction is not overly demonstrative, disrespectful, or prolonged.”

It’s the same reasoning that contributed to a controversial ejection of Dallas Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis in the NBA bubble. But in that instance, Porzingis’ “gesture” was the culprit in his first technical foul.

A scuffle with Los Angeles Clippers players led to his second technical and ejection in that game.

On Monday, officials decided to toss Cousins based on his “overt gesture.”

Houston Rockets' DeMarcus Cousins reacts following a call during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, in Houston. (Carmen Mandato/Pool Photo via AP)
It didn't take long for Boogie and the officials to get reacquainted. (Carmen Mandato/Pool Photo via AP)

Nothing new for Boogie

Cousins regularly finds himself among league leaders in technical fouls and has said before that he believes officials have it out for him.

“I got a tech for saying, ‘Good job, referee,’” Cousins told The Undefeated in 2017. “I said, ‘Good job. Good call.’ And I got a tech? I swear to God on my kids. I have yet to have a moment where I just erupt or go off. I haven’t had one of those, but for some reason I’m still leading the league in techs. ...

“In previous seasons, I got a tech for playing after the whistle is over. Now it doesn’t matter because it’s me.”

Three minutes into the third game of his NBA return, and it looks like it’s business as usual between Cousins and the refs.

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