Heading into the season, all most of us knew about Atlanta Hawks rookie point guard Dennis Schröder was that he is German, he looked really good at Summer League, his playmaking and opportunistic defense have evoked Rajon Rondo comparisons, and he's got a gold/orange patch in his hair. After the Hawks' 105-100 road win over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, we also know that the 20-year-old does not take too kindly to aggressively hip-py picks, and that, in the process of fighting through them, he will let the screener know about it.
Just ask DeMarcus Cousins, who learned all about it with just under 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of Tuesday's contest and the Kings trailing by 16 points. Here's the possession as a whole, capped by a pure pull-up jumper from Kings guard Isaiah Thomas (who had a Sacramento-high 26 points on 8 for 17 shooting and five assists in 28 minutes off the bench):
And here's the moment of oof isolated, blown up and looped, courtesy of Sacramento sports talk radio host/Kings supporter Carmichael Dave:
Cousins, as you might expect, clearly didn't appreciate the low-five — barely 35 seconds later, he earned a foul by straight-up throwing Al Horford to the ground, taking out his frustration on whichever Hawk happened to be nearest him. (This was perhaps not the wisest move, as he was already working through foul trouble, and sound Atlanta defense, that limited him to just 11 points and six rebounds in 29 minutes.) Cousins vocalized his displeasure after the game, according to James Ham of Cowbell Kingdom:
“I took a cheap shot to my lower area,” Cousins told reporters from his locker after the game. “[The refs] just blew it off. I guess because it was me. But as soon as something happens on the other end, because it’s me, they run to the camera.”
It remains to be seen whether anyone in the league office will "run to the camera" in the days ahead, but it's not like there isn't a precedent for penalizing acts like this. Cousins himself received a one-game suspension last season for hitting then-Dallas Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo in the groin last season, as did Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade, who split the uprights with a kick below the border of the Charlotte Bobcats' Ramon Sessions.
If Schröder's lucky, maybe he'll get the same sort of benefit of the doubt as Serge Ibaka got last season. The Oklahoma City Thunder power forward received a flagrant foul-1, but not an ejection, after going low on Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin; upon further review, the NBA's disciplinarians decided that Serge should have received a flagrant-2, which would have merited an automatic ejection from the game (which the Thunder won, thanks in part to Ibaka's play down the stretch), but chose to hit him with a $25,000 fine rather than dock him any games after the fact. The NBA: Where even punishments of genital striking can vary on any given day, based solely on a whim!
Fisticuffs aside, Schröder had perhaps his best game as a pro for new Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer, finishing with six points, seven assists and no turnovers in 19 minutes of action spelling starter Jeff Teague, who briefly came out of the game due to a left ankle sprain suffered after tripping over a baseline attendant during the first quarter. He'd return in the second and finish with 18 points and 10 assists in the win, Atlanta's 11th straight versus the Kings.
Hat-tip to SportsPickle's D.J. Gallo.
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