Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins hangs his head on the bench after fouling out in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers in game one of the opening round of the NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. on Saturday, April 13, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
OAKLAND – Once DeMarcus Cousins finished his year-long rehab from a torn Achilles and made his season debut for the Golden State Warriors against the Los Angeles Clippers back in January, after he scored 14 points and pulled down six rebounds in 15 minutes in Los Angeles, he was able to do something he’d never been able to do his entire career: Recede into the background.
At Kentucky, in Sacramento, in New Orleans, Green was the centerpiece. As he continued to up his minutes with Golden State after his return, he could get his work in while the likes of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and his best friend on the team, Draymond Green, took the spotlight. Cousins was just another cog.
Paradoxically, when Cousins was the focal point on the court, it was in places without the media scrutiny attendant to the two-time defending NBA champions. Leading into Saturday night’s playoff opener against the Clippers, Cousins – who had 20.5 points and 11 boards over the final four games of the regular season – was the story. He’d never played a postseason game. After a dud in his first run under the playoff lights, Golden State expects big things from their big man, now that his second debut is out of the way.
“I think he’s going to play great. DeMarcus has a ton of pride,” head coach Steve Kerr said before Monday’s Game 2. “He’s obviously a great talent, an All-Star, all of that, but you’ve seen his passion and his energy.”
While Cousins wasn’t the focal point of opposing defenses in the regular season, in the early goings on Saturday, it was almost as if Los Angeles forgot about him, until they didn’t. He hit his first wide-open three as the defense collapsed on Durant, but after that, he tried to force things inside, and ran into a traffic jam. Had he stayed on the perimeter more, he may have gotten into a rhythm.
“If you’ve never been in a playoff game, you’ve never really truly seen somebody’s scheme against you but also your entire team,” Green said. “You play somebody in the regular season, and granted, he’s been the guy for so long, so he’s seen double teams, but in actual – like in the regular season, you don’t really have much time to really focus on a scheme.”
Cousins was visibly peeved when he was removed with more than six minutes left in the second quarter, and again when he fouled out in the fourth. In 21 minutes, he was just 4-of-12 from the field, and despite having nine rebounds and four assists, was largely a liability on both ends of the floor, as he tried to force passes on offense, …read more
Source:: Daily times