DALLAS — Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo called Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins “immature” and said he has “mental issues” after Mayo absorbed a direct shot below the belt from Cousins’ fist during the second quarter in the Mavs’ 119-96 romp Monday night.
Fighting for position in the lane, Cousins swung his arm backward and belted Mayo in the mid-section with 3:25 left in the quarter. Mayo reacted immediately, saying he had been punched and implored the officiating crew to check the game tape.
No foul was called on the play, but both players were given technical fouls.
“Where does that come into the game, you know what I mean?” Mayo said. “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 and it’s not too good.
“I told him to play basketball and you got a chance to be a good player, but when you do stuff like that you’re like a garbage player. It’s not a good play, it’s not a sign of being great.”
Cousins said he and Mayo were trash-talking and that he did not intentionally hit him.
“Absolutely not. It wasn’t intentional,” said Cousins, who had 25 points in a game the Kings trailed by 25 points at the time of the incident. “I mean it was a lot of trash talk.”
Mayo said he watched the game film with coach Rick Carlisle at halftime and is hopeful the league will take a closer look.
Cousins was suspended for two games by the league earlier this season for confronting Spurs broadcaster and former player Sean Elliott after a game in Sacramento.
“That guy has mental issues, man,” Mayo said. “He’s a talented player, but he has the opportunity to be the face of that franchise, but I don’t think he wants it.
“He’s immature man. Big maturity problem,” Mayo continued. “Hopefully he’ll grow up out of it and become great. He definitely has the talent to.”
During the third quarter, Carlisle had words for Cousins, although he wouldn’t reveal what he said.
“I really like him as a player and I was expressing that to him,” Carlisle said.
Mayo finished with a team-high 19 points and seven rebounds as Dallas won its third straight time and went over .500 (11-10) for the first time since Nov. 21.
The Mavs and Kings don’t meet again until Jan. 10 at Sacramento.
Cousins might serve another suspension well before then.
“I just told them to pull the tape,” Mayo said. “You know, because something like that, you can talk smack, you can even foul hard, that’s part of the game. But when you do stuff like that, that’s a reaction and things happen. I was able to keep my cool and understand that it was most important that we were up 20 and were going to continue playing hard.”