The interplay between Smith and the Philips Arena crowd was lively throughout the night. Smith, an Atlanta native who played his first nine NBA seasons with the Hawks, was booed loudly whenever he touched the ball. The catcalls grew louder in the third quarter, after Smith drained a 3-pointer that rattled around the rim several times before dropping in. Smith then shushed the crowd by placing his finger over his lips as the Hawks called timeout. “I mean, those fans are fickle, very fickle and bandwagoners,” Smith said. “It really doesn’t mean anything to me.”
February 12, 2016 | 11:01 pm EST Update
I asked Cousins on Friday how much say a star player should have in such decisions; it’s well documented that Cousins and Karl have clashed regularly and still haven’t gotten on the same page. Cousins blew off the question, but then said something telling about his predicament. “I prefer to be in a perfect situation,” DeMarcus Cousins said, “but that’ll never happen.” “What does a perfect situation look like to you?” I asked. “Everybody’s happy,” DeMarcus Cousins said. “But that’ll never happen.” “Why?” “There’s nothing in life that’s perfect,” DeMarcus Cousins said.
Cousins? Utterly dominant. Cousins’ team? Utterly dysfunctional. “Helping us stay grounded through, I guess you could say, the chaos,” Cousins said, when asked to describe his role in finding a way out. “But the biggest thing would be staying positive.”