Dec 11, 2012, 8:00 AM EST
Down 25 points in the second quarter against the Dallas Mavericks, DeMarcus Cousins swung his arm backward while battling for position and struck O.J. Mayo directly below the belt. Mayo’s reaction to the hit and the ensuing fallout resulted in technicals for both players, but the real jabs were thrown after the game:
“It wasn’t intentional, but there was a lot of trash talk,” said Cousins, who had been fighting Mayo for position when he delivered the no-look blow behind him.
“Man, I was so pissed,” Mayo said after his 19-point, seven-rebound performance in the rout. “It’s just, where does that come in in the game, you know what I mean? He’s a talented player, has a chance to be an All-Star. But you do stuff like that, it takes you down a class.”
“That guy has some mental issues, man,” Mayo said. “He’s a talented player. He has an opportunity to be the face of that organization, but I don’t think he wants it. …
“He’s immature, man. Big maturity problem. Hopefully, he’ll grow up out of it and become great. He definitely has the talent to.”
Let’s get something out of the way first. O.J. Mayo is having an incredible season, and he seems like a very intelligent guy, but he should be the last person in the world scolding someone for being immature.
After all, this is the same O.J. Mayo who burst on to the national scene in high school by showing up his opponents during a blowout, throwing the ball high into the stands after a dunk. This is the same O.J. Mayo that was involved in heavy recruiting violations that led to USC vacating all of its wins that year. Yes, this is the same O.J. Mayo that got in a fist-fight with Tony Allen over a gambling debt, was suspended 10 games for violating the league’s anti-drug policy, and bristled publicly about his role on a playoff team.
So while Mayo has learned how to stay out of trouble and be a top scorer in Dallas, it also appears he’s learned how to mount very, very tall horses. While his condescending tone towards Cousins is understandable considering the location of the blow, the projecting he does is perhaps most interesting. The same exact things Mayo says to Cousins could have easily been said to him months prior, and aside from the “mental issues” comment, it almost sounds like Mayo is doing some veiled empathizing with Cousins during his plight to stardom.
To be fair, Cousins has made plenty of mistakes during his first few years, but more often than not, they’re rooted in pride. Getting called out by an announcer, getting stomped by 25 points — these are things that attack a competitive person at their very core, and maybe it’s not the worst thing that Cousins hasn’t gone the way of so many other talented lottery picks by throwing in the towel completely. Many others would have already crumbled under the load of expectations, the scrutiny, and the constant character attacks.
Although occasionally misguided, Cousins’ passion is still evident, so the hope lives on that once he finds a more stable situation, his pride will no longer manifest itself in selfish, damaging acts, but instead will spark the great performances he’s capable of. His competitive fire needs to be tamed, not extinguished.
That’s the shame of it all, though. Often times this season, it does seem like Cousins has lost pride in his team and is playing mostly for himself. Watch him on the defensive end or when he doesn’t have the ball. He just sort of stands there, only re-engaging when directly attacked or when he’s given the ball again. Those are the types of things that can become habitual, and that’s much, much more alarming than a moment where frustration may have boiled over.
Cousins seems to be encouraged to both hurry up and wait, which makes you wonder what will happen to his dream of stardom and success that’s been deferred. Maybe it will just sag like a heavy load, like it has for so many others. Or will it explode?
Dec 21, 2013, 11:00 PM EST
Danny Granger returned to action for the Pacers on Friday, playing 22 minutes off the bench in his team’s blowout win over the Rockets. Exactly how much Granger can contribute to Indiana’s efforts at title contention this season remains to be seen, but whether he produces near his previous levels or he doesn’t, his situation…
Dec 21, 2013, 9:30 PM EST
The Knicks didn’t score a whole lot in Saturday’s home loss to the Grizzlies, but when they did, there were some highlights. This one features seldom-used Toure Murry getting out on the break and delivering a perfect behind-the-back pass to Tim Hardaway Jr. for the breakaway slam.
Joakim Noah admits he shouldn’t have been in Thunder’s locker room following incident with Kendrick Perkins
Dec 21, 2013, 8:00 PM EST
In today’s NBA, team loyalties aren’t what they once were. Many of the players have friendships off the court that cross team lines, and the only time we ever see anything close to animosity from most are over those 48 minutes when they’re competing on the court. But locker rooms remain sacred places, reserved for…
Dec 21, 2013, 6:57 PM EST
Jeffery Taylor had started the last 8 games for the Bobcats, since Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went down, and while he has struggled in that role (he has shot 35.4 percent as a starter) you can see how the sophomore could grow into solid rotation player for Charlotte. However, they have lost Taylor for the year due…
Dec 21, 2013, 5:00 PM EST
NEW YORK – The Knicks suffered their 10th home loss of the season on Saturday, playing against an injury-ravaged Grizzlies team that came in losing five straight and seven of its last eight games. The noon start time wasn’t as big of a problem as it had been in New York’s previous two early starts,…
Dec 21, 2013, 3:30 PM EST
Miami Heat players have been videobombing each other’s postgame interviews after victories since at least last season, and it seems as though doing things like making funny faces or doing a robot dance has now become passé. Dwyane Wade upped the ante recently by cartwheeling his way through a LeBron James interview, and now the two…
Dec 21, 2013, 2:00 PM EST
Wesley Matthews is having a career year — he is scoring a career high 16.2 points a game, he is shooting 44.2 percent from three (39.8 percent last season had been a career high) and he is shooting a lot better inside the arc as well, with a true shooting percentage of 64.5 percent (career…
Dec 21, 2013, 12:30 PM EST
Richard Jefferson is in his 13th NBA season, and for the first time in his career will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. After earning over $100 million in salary, you can understand why money will be the least of his concerns when signing what may be his final contract. Jefferson was open in…
Dec 21, 2013, 11:08 AM EST
Nets center Brook Lopez is out for the season after suffering a broken foot, news that was first broken by CSNNE.com’s Gary Tanguay and has since been confirmed by many others. NBA source tells me Brook Lopez of the Nets is done for the year. Broken foot. East continues to get worse. #celticstalk — Gary…
Dec 21, 2013, 11:00 AM EST
The Celtics have been better than most expected through the first 27 games of the season, and thanks to playing in the dreadful Atlantic Division, their 12-15 record has them sitting at the four seed in the Eastern Conference standings. That isn’t likely to last all year long, however, and being three games under .500…
Dec 21, 2013, 9:30 AM EST
The Pacers have been one of the top teams to this point in the season, but two of their five losses had come in their last two games. They made sure to leave no doubt in getting back on track Friday, beating an undermanned Rockets team that was without Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik by…
Dec 21, 2013, 8:00 AM EST
The Miami Heat have plenty of alternate jerseys, but haven’t been one of the teams to embrace the new sleeved models just yet. Every team playing on Christmas Day will be giving the new-look tops a try, however, and that includes the Heat. But LeBron James said that the team’s shooters are worried about how…
Dec 21, 2013, 12:17 AM EST
The Knicks have gotten killed in their home games this season that have begun with an early 12 noon tip-off, and head coach Mike Woodson is willing to try anything to avoid yet another embarrassing performance and disastrous result. New York hosts the Memphis Grizzlies at 12 noon at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, but…
Dec 20, 2013, 10:51 PM EST
When the Nets played the Sixers just four days ago in Brooklyn, they won by 36 points and honestly, the game wasn’t even that close. Things were different Friday night in Philadelphia, however, and it had everything to do with the available personnel. Kevin Garnett took this game off as a day of rest, and…
Dec 20, 2013, 9:36 PM EST
One of the first lessons a rookie can learn in the NBA is which players not to try to take a charge against. LeBron James has to be near the top of that list, but Kings rookie Ben McLemore gave it a shot anyway on Friday night in Miami. He chose … poorly. LeBron elevated…
Dec 20, 2013, 8:29 PM EST
This is the first ball I've seen with a Commissioner Adam Silver signature on it. http://t.co/eSlS3cMJ9P— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) December 19, 2013 The times, they are a changin’. Adam Silver will replace David Stern as NBA Commissioner on Feb. 1, and among the differences (there will not be that many, really) is that the NBA…
Dec 20, 2013, 7:28 PM EST
Dion Waiters — the Cavaliers second-leading scorer and a guy on the trade block according to reports — will be out Friday night against the Bucks and maybe longer due to a sore wrist. He has wrist tendonitis that had bothered him for a while but he had played through it — he had 25…
Dec 20, 2013, 6:29 PM EST
We had Rob Dauster of NBC’s CollegeBasketballTalk on the PBT Podcast recently and when the topic of Jabari Parker came up Dauster mentioned Carmelo Anthony — a polished scorer with the ability to play the four, score inside, or stretch the floor out to the arc. Dauster isn’t the only one to say that, it’s…
Dec 20, 2013, 5:05 PM EST
Yesterday we passed along the report that before Philadelphia had starting shopping Thaddeus Young around he had gone to the team and asked for a trade. He didn’t want to be part of a rebuilding process. If you’ve watched how this game was played with others guys trying to get moved then you knew what…
Dec 20, 2013, 4:07 PM EST
The last time we saw French center Alexis Ajinca in an NBA game it was 2011 with the Raptors. He had been a bit player with Dallas and Charlotte before that. Now he’s back getting another shot with the New Orleans Pelicans, reports the Times Picayune. The New Orleans Pelicans have reached a two-year contract…
- Bobcats lose Jeffery Taylor for season with ruptured Achilles 0
- Carmelo Anthony after latest home loss to Grizzlies: ‘I think it’s in our heads’ 13
- Brook Lopez suffers broken foot, out for the season 27
- Duke’s Jabari Parker doesn’t back away from Carmelo Anthony comparison 12
- Michael Carter-Williams returns to Sixers lineup Friday against Nets 6
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- LeBron did foul Paul George on final shot but there was no call (VIDEO) (60)
- Chicago columnist hammers Derrick Rose as no longer humble star (56)
- LeBron angrily goes after Mario Chalmers on the Heat bench (VIDEO) (50)
- Reports: Houston Rockets pull out of Asik trade talks, will keep him for now (45)