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DALLAS -- Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins says his below-the-belt shot on Dallas Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo was an accident.
Mayo doesn't believe that one bit, saying Cousins has a "big maturity problem" and "mental issues." Mayo also requested the NBA office review the tape of the incident.
Mayo and Cousins were called for double technical fouls after a confrontation with 3:25 remaining in the second quarter of the Mavs' 119-96 win Monday night over the Kings. Mayo was irate after Cousins hit him in the groin area with a fist during the previous possession.
"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.
After the double technicals were called, Mayo pleaded with two officials to review the film of the incident, which the Mavs' television broadcast replayed later.
"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."
Mayo said he told Cousins to "play basketball and you've got a chance to be a good player," but that type of conduct made him a "garbage player." According to Mayo, Cousins responded with several expletives.
"Just trash talk," said Cousins, who scored 25 points in the Kings' loss. "Nothing too big. It's part of the game. Nothing too big."
That guy has some mental issues, man. 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.” -- O.J. Mayo on DeMarcus Cousins
Mayo considers the incident to be an example of what is preventing Cousins, who was suspended two games earlier this season because of a postgame confrontation with San Antonio Spurs broadcaster Sean Elliott, from achieving his potential.
"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."
Cousins also got into a brief verbal confrontation with Dallas coach Rick Carlisle in the third quarter. After Carlisle called a timeout to stop a run by the Kings, Cousins approached him while clapping and barked something at the coach. Carlisle responded by shouting as Cousins walked to the Kings' bench.
"I really like him as a player," Carlisle said with a wry smile, "and I was expressing that to him."