Many NBA fans weren’t happy to learn that TNT was showing a nationally-televised game between the Lakers and Kings on Thursday night. Pretty much any game would have seemed like a letdown after last Thursday’s much-anticipated matchup between Kevin Durant and the Warriors and Russell Westbrook and the Thunder. But Lakers/Kings? That sounded like punishment to many people:
The game actually ended up being pretty good, though. After the Kings jumped out to an early 14-point lead in the first quarter and appeared to be in command of the game throughout the first half, the Lakers turned things around in the second half and outscored the Kings 56-36 to win 101-91. They got solid efforts from Lou Williams (21 points), D’Angelo Russell (17 points), Nick Young (16 points), and Julius Randle (15 points), which helped them offset a strong showing from DeMarcus Cousins, who scored 28 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and dished out 4 assists.
And the excitement continued after the final buzzer when, for whatever reason, Cousins and Randle got into a really heated exchange. In the clip above, you can see the two players—who, for what it’s worth, both played for John Calipari at the University of Kentucky at different times—go toe-to-toe before being separated by their teammates. It’s hard to make out exactly what they’re saying, but it’s clear they both let their emotions get the best of them.
After the game, Cousins talked about the exchange and downplayed its significance. "Just some friendly UK love," he said, before hinting at what he was so frustrated about. "It’s pretty sad when opposing teams let it be known what their game plan is, which is to be physical or hit me and whatever the case may be, and they kind of get away with it. But I got to learn how to play through it, keep my frustrations in order, and that’s it. Just play through it….Julius is like my little brother. So like I said, just a little friendly UK love."
Cousins also tried to explain how the Kings lost control of the game in the second half when they appeared to play a lot less aggressive than they did in the first half. "How can I say this without…" he said. "Played a little more tender, I guess you could say, for certain reasons."
"What reasons?" Cousins was asked. "Reasons," he said.
Well, okay then. Who knew a Lakers/Kings game—in 2016—would be this intense?