The Warriors Needed Someone Else to Step Up
With Kevin Durant out indefinitely, the Golden State Warriors looked vulnerable in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The Toronto Raptors are by far the best defensive team the Warriors have faced in these playoffs with three former Defensive Players of the Year (Kawhi Leonard, Serge Ibaka, and Marc Gasol) on their current roster. Add to that, Danny Green who made the All-Defensive Team in 2017 and Pascal Siakam who looks like he will potentially make one at some point in his career as he continues to develop. What that means for the Warriors is that they will need everyone playing their best basketball in order to beat this Raptors team without Kevin Durant’s offensive firepower. This is where Boogie Cousins comes in.
In Game 1, DeMarcus Cousins was a nonfactor playing only eight minutes while looking one full gear slower than the actual pace of the game. That’s what makes his Game 2 performance so surprising, especially on the defensive end. His stats were not that impressive by his standards, 11 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks in 28 minutes of action. What truly stands out is the fact that after partially tearing his quad on April 15th, most people around the Warriors organization thought he was done for the year.
To come back and be that productive after not playing for over a month shows that despite his many issues on and off the court during his career, he takes his job very seriously. Remember, the Warriors are only paying him $5.3 million this season, far less than he will be earning by the start of next season. The NBA Finals may be a once in a lifetime opportunity (there is no guarantee that he will be a Warrior next year) and Cousins is looking to grab his chance with both hands.
Looney Injury Makes Cousins Even More Valuable
In Game 2 Kevon Looney took a hard fall and did not return to the game:
While initial reports indicated that he hurt his collarbone, it turns out, it’s actually an injury to the cartilage in his rib cage. The injury is rare and actually doesn’t show up on X-rays which is what caused the initial confusion but here is a more detailed explanation of the issue:
The average recovery time for this type of injury is usually 3-4 weeks which means he is out for the rest of the Finals. The Warriors are lucky that they signed Andrew Bogut before the playoffs or they would have a serious crisis on their hands with no big men left on their roster to match up with Toronto’s strong frontline. As hard as it was to imagine Boogie Cousins being important to this team after his Game 1 performance, he is now crucial to their chances of winning. Not only will they be without Durant and now Looney, it is now being reported that Klay Thompson is questionable for Game 3:
Even if Thompson does play, he will not be 100% meaning others will have to step up. Both Cousins and Andre Iguodala came up big when their team needed them but they only combined for 19 points in Game 2. They will have to do better than that in Game 3 and the Raptors know it.
If a list of the NBA’s most disliked players exists somewhere, Boogie Cousins would be on that list without a doubt. During his time in Sacramento, he was one of the most polarizing players in the NBA. As the face of that franchise, his lack of maturity and his overall terrible demeanor during games did not endear him to fans, including some in Sacramento. Of course, Kings fans loved his production, as he was voted to the All NBA Second team in 2015 and 2016 despite his team only winning 29 and 33 games respectively in those seasons. Up until now, Cousins has been seen as a good player with a terrible attitude that doesn’t seem to make his team better. Remember, he was drafted in 2010 and this is the first time he’s ever made the playoffs. If he can help the Warriors win their 3rd championship in a row to make their dynasty complete, he could possibly rewrite his career narrative in one playoff series.