Houston Rockets big man DeMarcus Cousins and Los Angeles Lakers forward Markieff Morris were both ejected from Sunday night's game.
Cousins and Morris were called for double technical fouls with 2:15 remaining in the first quarter. After Morris committed a flagrant 1 foul on Jae'Sean Tate – sending the Rockets forward to the ground – Cousins gave Morris a little shove before going to help Tate up. In response, Morris ran after Cousins for a more aggressive shove, prompting a heated exchange of words and teammates from both teams to separate the two players.
Morris was ejected on the spot for the flagrant foul and subsequent altercation, while Cousins initially remained in the game. That didn't last long, however, as Cousins found himself ejected in the second quarter after he committed a flagrant foul 2 on former teammate LeBron James. Cousins hit James over the head, which appeared incidental, but officials determined Cousins' wind-up meant it was a flagrant 2 – ultimately leading to Cousins' ejection.
Los Angeles Lakers forward Markieff Morris, top, gets into an altercation with Houston Rockets center DeMarcus Cousins (15) during the first quarter. (Photo: Brett Coomer, AP)
"I thought (Cousins) was sticking up for his teammate on the first part, the first technical, and I'll support him 100% when he's sticking up for his teammate," Rockets coach Stephen Silas told reporters Sunday night. "He was sticking up for Jae'Sean. He wasn't going to allow anything to happen to his rookie, and I think that's admirable. Him sticking up for his teammate shows a lot of who DeMarcus Cousins is."
There is some history that served as a backdrop to the altercations. Cousins was on the reigning NBA champions' roster until February when the Lakers waived him to open a spot for Morris. Cousins had signed with Los Angeles in July 2019 but tore his ACL during a pickup game.
The Lakers went on to win Sunday 120-102.
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