DeMarcus Cousins has had a slow return to form with the Warriors team, but on Wednesday night he showed what the Warriors can do in the post season if their 5 all-star starters remain healthy and engaged.
Warriors had a road game against the Houston Rockets team that had twice earlier this season beaten the Warriors with one of their superstars missing and came into the game with the hottest streak in the NBA with 9 consecutive wins on the trot.
Both their wins over Warriors had come with at least one of their superstars missing as their first win came without Chris Paul and the second win was a drubbing without James Harden as CP3 absolutely took over and buried the Warriors. Given that there was no Durant (ankle injury) for last night’s game, Rockets might have come as slight favorites to a home game against the struggling Warriors.
But that was not to be, as DeMarcus Cousins turned his finest performance of the season so far and helped the Warriors beat the Rockets 106-104, which given the balance of play reflects unfairly on the Warriors who could’ve won this by a log bigger margin if they hadn’t considered the game won, half way through the final quarter.
Cousins played 32 minutes in the game with no Kevin Durant and provided solid play to end up with a stat line of 27 Points, 7 Assists and 8 Rebounds. But more than his numbers today, it was the way he played, that showed Warriors fans, and maybe the team, what he could do when he is fully healthy.
Warriors, throughout their historic run of 5 years, have never had anyone like Boogie. A big man, that actually is capable of playing in this offense while not getting bullied on the boards on either side of the floor.
Right from Andrew Bogut to Kevon Looney, through David Lee, Festus Ezeli, Mo Speights, David West, Zaza Pachulia, Jordan Bell and Damian Jones, none of the centers on the Warriors teams, were the right fit for the way the team played. But Demarcus Cousins is the perfect fit for the team.
He isn’t the best rebounding Center in the league but he isn’t one to be bullied around the post either. He is comparable to Andrew Bogut (at his peak) in that sense and defends similarly at a high level. He has a mid range game that the likes of David West and Mo Speights brought but he has much better size.
Jordan Bell, Festus Ezeli and Damian Jones were all used as screeners on the offensive end, but with Cousins he can actually screen and fade and be a threat thereby pulling away defenders from the ball handler, whether thats Durant or Curry.
But what DeMarcus Cousins does best, and what will unlock the final level on the Warriors roster, is bring gravity on the offensive end. None of the Centers Warriors have had in the era have been the interior presence that Cousins in.
When he rolls to the basket his defenders has to move with him and weak side defenders have to keep at eye on him if he gets a switch. On a team with 3 legendary shooters in Curry, Thompson and Durant that is the killing blow.
You lose focus on one of them for a split second because of a steamrolling Boogie and they will rain a barrage of 3s on you. Why? Because not only is Boogie an offensive juggernaut on the block, but he’s also a great passer from the paint.
Check out how telepathically connected Steph and Boogie are on this play. Steph doesn’t even have to be on court for Boogie to find him for an open 3.
Can we give Demarcus Cousins credit for passing? pic.twitter.com/xjzpODwvMt
— Shoot The Jay (@SportsManCave) March 14, 2019
Yes, thats going to land him on ‘shaqtin a fool’, but it is important to notice that even while he rolls to the basket full of steam, he still has the court vision to see the second defender that comes in to help and then have the ability to pass out to the now open teammate (who is hopefully on court and not right outside in his full jersey, which is definitely confusing to see during the game because this is as much Curry’s fault as it is Cousin’s, but he is definitely going to take the fall for it.)
The Warriors had effectively no points from Draymond Green (2 points) but still could play him 37+ minutes and be effective because Cousins kept finding Curry and Thompson and when he couldn’t, he just scored it himself.
P.J. Tucker, one of THE best defenders in the league could not do anything to stop Boogie, because he is that big and that strong! Every time someone smaller switched on to him (because his screen and roll action with Curry is that good) he punished the Rockets. Imagine what happens when KD joins this tandem with Cousins playing in full steam.
Very soon, we are going to have a Warriros blowout win, where Draymond plays 40 minutes and only plays defense, without taking a single shot the whole game. Trust me its going to happen. The Warriors with Steph, KD, Klay and Boogie are that good.