There is a play in my head called The Agonies Of DeMarcus Cousins, and it’s a one-actor show full of interior dialogues, tortured expressions, runs of frustration from one side of the stage to the other, and from the orchestra pit to the back of the hall.
And now we have to edit in his first official groinal seizure, in which an actor playing Buddy Hield of the New Orleans Pelicans thinks the best way to get around a Cousins screen is to levy a punitive tax on his delicates.
It was a fairly brazen act, the sort that had been a feature of the 2016 season but had been nearly unseen this year. But Cousins endured the indignity while Hield was ejected for a flagrant two (I will now leave you to use the number two for your own insensitive humor), and finished the game, a 105-99 victory over the Seabirds that moved the Kings back to within a game and a half of the one thing that we have waited for all these many years.
A first-round series against the Golden States.
The effects of the Hield seizure came and went, and Cousins finished the game (28 points, 14 rebounds), his progeny assembly undamaged. He and the Kings now go to Los Angeles to face the Lakers, and then back north to Oakland for their final game before the All-Star Break.
That is, if he can avoid picking up his 18th technical foul for the second time this season between now and then.
Cousins just finished serving a one-game suspension for getting his 16th technical last week against Chicago, which was actually his 18th because two of them, against Brooklyn and the Lakers, were later rescinded by the NBA office.
But he regained his 17th last night when Haywoode Workman saw him swing an errant arm at Pelican Donatas Motiejunas, and he had to adjourn to the Kings locker room by his own choice to regain his equilibrium.
In short, his next technical will result in another suspension, re-re-re-re-re-re-re-rekindling the debate about whether Cousins is good or bad for the Kings. It's a drama, based on history, but it is also a perfectly weird play because it is Boogie’s fate to forever split the audience.
But while the race to 16 was achieved in record time, it still took 52 games. Now, with suspension reduced to an every-alternate-T incident, and his career record of one technical for every 4.4 games. He is seventh on the list of active players with 105 technicals, and every player ahead of him on the list has played at least twice as many games, some (Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce) three times as many.
So the rest of his season, and that of the Kings, hinges on the day-to-nature of Cousins’ fractious relationship with the officials. There’s a weight in that reality that sometimes energizes Cousins, sometimes enrages him and sometimes even enervates him.
Inner turmoil always plays well.
The Kings have given him an exceedingly wide berth to cope with this individual battle, but the Kings are close enough to their first playoff berth in 11 years (only Minnesota has been absent longer). More to the point, the Kings would almost certainly be an eight-seed, which means that owner Vivek Ranadive could finally engage his personal bête noire 90 miles to the southwest.
External turmoil plays well, too.
In short, Cousins’ ability to restrain his inner Boogie is now more vital than ever. He cannot so freely indulge his need to rage against the whistled machine . . . well, okay, he can, but he desperately wants to win this fight with himself because he hates losing more than he hates officials and the league office for which they serve.
Now if this isn’t a play, then you’re an illiterate. Better still, the idea of “Hamilton” being supplanted in Broadway by “Boogie Agonistes” is frankly the best thing 2017 could provide us. And yes, we know that is a low bar to clear.