Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins wasn’t supposed to play in this year’s NBA Finals after he suffered what many within the organization feared was a season-ending quad tear on April 15. On Sunday, after scoring 11 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out six assists in 28 minutes during a 109-104 Game 2 victory over the Toronto Raptors, Cousins got the last laugh on his doubters, delivering the most important performance of his brief tenure with the group.
“He was great,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We came in thinking, all right, he can maybe play 20 minutes, and he gave us almost 28. There was only one time in the game when he needed a rest, which was mid-fourth, and we gave him a couple minutes and then got him back in the game. But he was fantastic, and we needed everything he gave out there — his rebounding, his toughness, his physical presence, getting the ball in the paint and just playing big, like he does. We needed all of that. So I thought he was fantastic.”cheap nike nfl jersey
“It feels great,” Cousins said. “I’ve leaned on my teammates throughout this moment and throughout this whole process, and this was an incredible moment for me. But I’m not satisfied, and I’m looking forward to Game 3.”
The moment clearly meant a lot to Cousins, who got hugs from Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and other teammates after the game.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale
“He was special,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. “Obviously you get more comfortable, more minutes and playing aggressive when he’s out there, puts a lot of pressure on their defense. And even on our defensive end, making his presence felt blocking shots, being in the right place at the right time. It’s a big lift for us. I know he’s been waiting a long time to be on this stage. Obviously, with his injuries, he’s taken the challenge of inserting himself and making that transition smooth. So it’s been fun to watch. More to come.”
Cousins, who didn’t play for the Warriors until Jan. 18 after spending almost an entire year rehabbing from an Achilles injury, told Kerr that he would be ready for whatever came his way. Thursday’s Game 1 marked the first time in 33 games that Cousins came off the bench this season. He found more of a comfort zone after replacing Jordan Bell in the starting lineup on Sunday.
“I told Steve coming into this, whatever he needed from me, I was OK with,” Cousins said. “If it’s coming off the bench, if it’s starting, if it’s playing eight minutes or 40, I’m cool with whatever. So I just want to come in and help the team with whatever’s needed.”
Cousins’ performance gave an emotional lift to the rest of his teammates. On a night when the Warriors were playing without Durant, lost Thompson and Kevon Looney to injuries and dealt with dehydration issues for Curry, it was Cousins who provided an unexpected pick-me-up at the right time.