OAKLAND — Midway through the second quarter of Sunday night’s win over the Charlotte Hornets, Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins walked towards the the Warriors locker room muttering a slew of swear words under his breath.
Untucking his jersey, Cousins wrestled with the fact that his night was over over six minutes before halftime.
Cousins was thrown out of the game after striking Hornets center Guillermo “Willy” Hernangomez in the face with an elbow. The result was an automatic ejection.
“I felt bad for DeMarcus,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “He was playing well and you hate when something like that happens, when it’s a random act.”
Cousins’ night got off to a rough start after playing only five minutes in the first quarter, and after he was called for two quick personal fouls, Kerr was forced to pull him. He returned in the second quarter, however, and began to put his imprint on the game after scoring eight of the Warriors first 14 points of the period and hitting three of his four attempted shots.
After blocking Charlotte guard Kemba Walker’s 19-foot jump shot on the defensive side of the ball, Cousins got back on offense end with just over six minutes to play in the period.
As Warriors guard Quinn Cook put up his third three-pointer of the game, Cousins attempted to gain position over Hernangomez under the Warriors’ basket.
Cousins’ right arm went above the Spaniard’s shoulders, striking him in the face with what appeared to be a closed fist.
“It looked inadvertent,” Kerr said. “He was trying to box him out and he hit him right in the head … I didn’t think there was any malice intended.”
While Cook’s shot hit nothing but net, the game’s officials chose to take a look at the play, considering how Hernangomez dropped to the floor following the shot. They determined that Cousins’ actions warranted the assessment of a flagrant 2 foul.
According to the NBA rule book, a flagrant 2 is “unnecessary and excessive contact committed by a player against an opponent. The opposing team is awarded two (2) free throws and possession and the player committing the foul is automatically ejected.”
Upon revealing their decision, the officials received roaring boos from the Oracle Arena crowd, as a frustrated Cousins storming off of the court in disgust.
Cousins’ ejection came as the second questionable assessment of the NBA rule book in as many games for Golden State. After the Warriors’ 131-130 overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, they spoke out about what they saw as poor officiating in the final second of the game.
This included the absence of a whistle when Timberwolves guard Josh Okogie slapped the back of Stephen Curry’s left foot as he raised up for a 3-point attempt. The NBA ruled Okogie’s actions as “hot stove contact” in their 2-minute report following the game.
“I didn’t really need any [explanation]. Just thought it was very specific,” Curry said regarding the situation. “I wanted to play into it so I brought a prop to the game tonight.”
The prop Curry was referring to was an oven mitt, which he was seen carrying into Oracle Arena before the game.
As for Cousins, the flagrant 2 may quite costly. It will hit his checkbook, as well as his stat sheet: According to NBA.com, a flagrant 2 can result in a fine of no more than $50,000.
Cousins also had seven technical foul points heading into Sunday’s game, so a flagrant 2 will bump that number up to nine with six games remaining in the season.