As we await the Bat signal from ARCO Arena, DeMarcus Cousins' altercation with Donte Greene on Saturday night has come into somewhat of a clearer picture. Thanks to the reportage of Sam Amick, Jason Jones and Marc Spears, we have a better idea of what transpired before and after Cousins and Greene got into it.
And what actually happened does a lot to dictate how it's perceived, especially locally where we aren't prone to blanket statements and unwielding biases against players like Cousins.
Spears reports that Francisco Garcia talked to Cousins on Thursday -- two days before the incident -- about his professionalism and how he affects the team with his attitude and mood. That means a couple things to me. Even in the absence of particular drama, Garcia decided he needed or wanted to talk to Cousins about his maturity. The other is that even with that conversation happening, Cousins still went after (verbally, it appears) Donte. The talk didn't make DeMarcus think twice, or if it did, DeMarcus thought twice and stillwent after Donte.
Amick tweeted a couple of vital notes on Sunday.
Key clarification regarding Cousins-Greene fight: Source in the locker room says nothing was said to Tyreke Evans. This was about Cousins accusing Greene of being too "scared" to make the right play. Greene didn't take kindly and reacted.
That's huge, on two counts. I called this a proxy war between Cousins and Evans on Sunday. This fits. Cousins isn't confronting Evans -- he's confronting a player who, like the coach (in Cousins's eyes) who makes or allows Evans to make every play that matters. Calling Greene too scared to make the right play? I would venture that DMC isn't talking about what we did on Sunday, the angle with Kevin Durant in the way and Nick Collison draped over Cousins. He's talking about giving the ball to Evans despite Cousins (in his mind) being open. At least that's my read.
It appears that things escalated from there. If Donte swung at DeMarcus? Well, Donte, you sir have giant balls. Also, that was dumb! If DeMarcus swung at Donte? DUMB! It's all dumb. This can be settled without fists. A locker room is no different than a club or a Thanksgiving Day dinner table. You will get past it. You will calm down. Keep your guns holstered. It's not that serious. Talk it out. Hug it out. Stop turning to violence.
Either way, it's not a flattering image of Cousins. He is, right now, a malcontent. His contentment with losing, with losing on bricked threes by Tyreke Evans in the final seconds -- it is mal! It is low! He's not happy losing, and especially not happy losing like this.
But he's also misunderstood. The image that he is completely out of control, unable to control his emotions one bit? Well, if he was just hashing out his problems with teammates -- even if he, as reported, said Donte was too "scared" to make the right play? That's not the devil's work. It's a bit too much, even for a fiery 20-year-old. It's a bad step, especially if he and Uncle Flaco just talked about this very sort of thing. It's bad.
But it's not the devil's work. The kid's not the devil. It's gray, all of this. We're clear that his craft in terms of discussing problem, that's really rough. He doesn't seem like he knows how to solve problems like most humans seek to. But these are groaner problems. This isn't a Bourré game or Toni Braxton. It's f--king basketball he's mad about. And yeah, it's a bit selfish and way childish to call the inbounder "scared" because he passes the ball to the open superstar in the closing second. Way childish. Ridiculously so. But it's not the worst that could be happening.
Am I making excuses because my hope for the kid and this team is so great as to blind my judgment? I don't know. But I don't see anything irredeemable in DeMarcus. Not one thing.