SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – It was only a matter of time after DeMarcus Cousins got his first technical with 2:23 left in the second quarter of Monday night’s game against the Utah Jazz.
His night was over by halftime, when the Sacramento Kings’ big man argued with officials at midcourt during the break, letting loose with an expletive that earned him his league-leading 12th technical.
The Kings went on to lose 98-91 in overtime without him.
Cousins insisted officials always tell him he can talk to them if there’s an issue, but during the first half was told, “Don’t talk to me.”
When he approached an official again at halftime and was rebuffed, Cousins lashed out.
“I shouldn’t have said that,” Cousins said of the curse. “That’s about it.”
He missed a wild ending that saw Randy Foye lead Utah with 20 points, including six in OT, for the Jazz win.
Paul Millsap added 14, with a key block, a step-back jumper and a rebound in the extra session for the Jazz, who used an 8-0 fourth-quarter run to take the lead with 2:40 left in regulation.
“When DeMarcus went out, that was huge for us because he was active, he was really active early on,” Foye said of Cousins, who started 4 of 4 but finished 5 of 8 for 10 points. “But it just made my job a lot harder with Tyreke Evans because every play he was coming right at me. They did a good job of getting him the ball in areas where he could be effective.”
Jason Thompson also picked up the slack, finishing with a season-high 23 points for Sacramento (17-33).
Evans added 20 but had a key turnover in overtime.
Utah (27-22) had a chance to win it in regulation, but Al Jefferson shot an air ball 3-pointer at the buzzer after getting the pass from Foye when he was double-teamed.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Jefferson quipped when asked about that ugly final shot in regulation. “I did it on purpose. I just wanted to go to overtime. I just wanted to play five extra minutes.”
In overtime, Foye didn’t pass up the shot, instead draining one just inside the 3-point line before sealing the game with four free throws down the stretch.
He also forced Evans into a bad miss on a 3-foot shot on Sacramento’s final possession in regulation.
“He made good moves and put me in foul trouble early in the third quarter,” Foye said. “But I just said to myself, ‘I’m not going to let him score.'”
Plenty of credit for the win also goes to second-year pro Alec Burks.
Before the game, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said the pressure was on Burks with Utah down to one point guard because of injuries to Mo Williams and Earl Watson.
Though Burks made some mistakes (four of Utah’s season-high 22 turnovers), he had perhaps his best game as a pro.
He made 5 of 7 shots for a season-high 14 points, including a 19-foot shot on the run that gave Utah a 90-87 lead in overtime.
Before that he had a steal, then grabbed the rebound that set Millsap up for the winning 19-footer with 1:06 left in OT.
Burks added four assists, three rebounds and a block of Thompson’s shot in the lane to end the third, keeping the Jazz within 66-62 entering the final quarter.
“He did a great job,” Corbin said of Burks, a shooting guard asked to help at point. “It has put him at a little bit of a disadvantage. But with he and Randy on the floor together, they are able to split duties a little bit and at times initiate, at times be the secondary guy.”
Burks, known more for his slashing drives to the basket at Colorado, never has lacked in confidence.
“I just tried to play aggressive with my game and I’m glad coach had the confidence to let me play that one,” Burks said.
The Jazz shot 52.8 percent (38 of 72) while the Kings made just 41.2 percent (35 of 87), including 3 of 20 from 3-point range.
Jimmer Fredette, who played college ball at Brigham Young down the road, went 0 for 5, including 0 for 3 beyond the arc and finished with 2 points and three turnovers.
He endured a loud mix of boos and cheers every time he entered but played just 13 minutes.
At least he was around to see the ending.
This was the second time this season against the Jazz that Cousins has been ejected.
The first time, the Kings won 108-97 on Nov. 24.
On Monday, Sacramento had a chance.
The Kings led 82-75 lead with 4:26 remaining.
Utah went on an 8-0 run, Foye hitting a 3, Marvin Williams a pair of free throws then another 3 with 2:40 remaining to give Utah an 83-82 lead.
When it was done, Sacramento had finished its six-game road trip 1-5.
“I think there was conversation on both sides and the referee got to the point where he didn’t want to hear anymore,” Kings coach Keith Smart said. “The part where it is halftime and you’re walking toward them, you will probably always get in trouble doing that.”