Rockets' DeMarcus Cousins ejected after scuffle, foul on LeBron James

Jan. 11 (UPI) — All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins was ejected after he was involved in a scuffle with fellow big man Markieff Morris and committed a technical foul on LeBron James during a Houston Rockets loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Both incidents occurred in the first half of the Rockets’ 120-102 setback Sunday in Houston. Cousins — one of the most-ejected players in NBA history — has been kicked out of two games this season.

Cousins drew his first of two technical fouls with 2:15 remaining in the first quarter. Morris received a pass inside the 3-point arc at the start of that possession. He then passed off the James before he ran into the lane and shoved Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate to the ground.

Cousins took exception to the push and threw his left shoulder into Morris, which forced the Lakers forward to fall to the floor. Morris then ran up to Cousins and gave him a shove before the two players exchanged words.

Morris’ Lakers teammates had to hold him back from Cousins as the Rockets big man walked away from the dustup.

Cousins and Morris each received a technical foul for their roles in the scrum. Morris was also ejected.

Cousins drew his second technical foul and ejection at the 11:14 mark in the second quarter.

James dribbled across half court before he darted through the lane during that play. Cousins then stepped into the paint and used his right arm to slap toward the ball in James’ hands, but he instead hit James in the face.

James dropped the ball and fell to the floor. Referees reviewed the play before they issued the technical foul to Cousins.

“I thought he [Cousins] was sticking up for his teammate on the first one,” Rockets coach Stephen Silas told reporters. “I support him 100% when he is sticking up for his teammate. … The second technical was a judgement call [by the referee] and comes from the replay booth.

“He’s going to have to live with it.”

Cousins had six points and four rebounds in the loss. Morris did not score. Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 27 points in the victory. James had 18 points for the Lakers. Rockets center Christian Wood scored a team-high 23 points in the loss.

The Lakers will host the Rockets at 8 p.m. EST Tuesday at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

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