With his team fighting for playoff position, Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin doesn't want to get caught up in a war of words with Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.
That won't stop the Kings' mercurial big man from sharing his thoughts on this growing rivalry.
Griffin and Cousins meet for the second time in three days Saturday night when this home-and-home set concludes in Los Angeles.
Even if they can't run down the Los Angeles Lakers for the Pacific Division title, the Clippers (33-22) sit fourth in the Western Conference and are in good position to secure the franchise's first postseason berth since 2005-06.
Griffin deserves as much credit as anyone for the Clippers' 2011-12 success, ranking among the league leaders in double-doubles (34) and being just one of a handful of players in the NBA averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Known as much for his vicious dunks as anything else, the two-time All-Star showed off his outside shot in Thursday's 93-85 victory at Sacramento (19-36), hitting a pair of 22-foot jumpers in the final few minutes as Los Angeles bounced back from Wednesday's 113-108 loss to the Lakers for its seventh win in eight games.
Griffin, though, spent plenty of time battling Cousins down low, with the two second-year big men trading elbows and shoves - along with some words.
"It wasn't me going at anybody. I don't want to get that started,'' said Griffin, who has 14 points, nine boards and three assists in each of the two wins against Sacramento this season. "That's something that will hopefully go away for him. When guys get frustrated, that's what happens.''
Cousins, one shy of his 13th technical and a one-game suspension, wasn't surprised by that response.
"That's what Blake is going to say because he's in L.A., where actors belong,'' said Cousins, who finished with eight points and three rebounds in 18 foul-plagued minutes. "And he's an actor.''
Cousins, fined $25,000 by the NBA on Friday for publicly criticizing officials after Thursday's loss, can expect to see a few of those sitting courtside when these teams meet at Staples Center for the only time in 2011-12.
Los Angeles, winner of seven of eight at home, has lost just twice in the Kings' last eight visits.
Sacramento owns a conference-worst 5-22 road record, but after defeating Utah 104-103 on March 30, the team has a chance to win two straight away from home for the first time since a three-game run March 23-27, 2011.
The Kings, who open a stretch of four of five away from home, could be without Marcus Thornton for a third straight game (bruised right calf) and John Salmons, who has been sidelined for six with a sore right hip.
Thornton has averaged 23.5 points in two games against Los Angeles with Sacramento.
Clippers sixth man Mo Williams (sprained left big toe) could return for the first time in nine games. If Williams can't go, Eric Bledsoe, who had 13 points on Thursday, should see plenty of time backing up Chris Paul and Randy Foye, the latter the team leader with 36 points versus Sacramento this season after scoring 20 in the latest matchup.
The Clippers haven't swept a season series against the Kings since winning all five meetings in 1985-86.