Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins crashes into Blake Griffin during… (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated…)
Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins made it known Thursday after the Kings and Clippers played that he believes the NBA protects — or, as he said, babies — Clippers star forward Blake Griffin.
Does Cousins' coach, Keith Smart, agree?
"You didn't ask me that question, did you?" Smart half-jokingly asked a reporter before the teams played Saturday night at Staples Center. "Did you see what happened to my big man?"
The NBA fined Cousins $25,000 for his comments.
"My wife will be really upset if I answer that question," Smart said, laughing.
Regardless, Smart didn't think there was an issue between the players.
"Maybe in 10 years if it's still happening, we'll know it's an issue," Smart said. "Right now it's just two big guys playing an aggressive style of play."
Cousins and Griffin both declined to comment before the game.
As for the trash-talking, Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said, "It's just a bunch of words to me."
As for the on-court play, Del Negro said, "As long as it's clean and physical basketball, that's fine."
Foye looking good
Entering Saturday, Randy Foye was averaging 17.5 points in the last six games and the Clippers have won five of those. It's hard to consider those facts as mutually exclusive.
"He's done a really good job on both ends of the court and obviously when he's making shots it takes a lot of pressure off everybody," Del Negro said during the team's shootaround Saturday morning.
During that stretch, Foye has shot 45.2% — 40% from beyond the arc. And in a win at Dallas on Monday, Foye tied a team record by making eight three-point shots.
"We need him to keep playing with that same amount of confidence because everybody on the team has confidence that when Randy shoots the ball, it's going in," point guard Chris Paul said after the shootaround. "We know he can attack and be aggressive. We're going to need all that."
Paul noted that Foye, who played some point guard in Minnesota, is more versatile than most might realize.
With the Clippers, he has had to play multiple roles, especially with the lineup shuffled when Chauncey Billups went down with a season-ending injury, when the Clippers acquired Nick Young from Washington, and when Mo Williams suffered a sprained left toe that has sidelined him for nine games.
Foye is playing in the final year of a contract that pays him $4.25 million and he has said that he wants to be re-signed by the Clippers.
Williams, the reserve guard and Sixth Man of the Year candidate, was thought to be ready to play against the Kings, but Del Negro said he wasn't ready.
Del Negro said Williams would play "as soon as possible."