Boogie Nights: Warriors counting on big Finals from DeMarcus Cousins | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Boogie Nights: Warriors counting on big Finals from DeMarcus Cousins

Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) looks on as Golden State Warriors centre DeMarcus Cousins (0) stumbles with the ball during second half Game 2 NBA Finals action, in Toronto on Sunday, June 2, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
June 05, 2019 - 10:42 PM

OAKLAND, Calif. - Of all the storylines that emerged from Game 2 of the NBA Finals — the Raptors' "quarter from hell," Warriors guard Klay Thompson limping off the court, Nick Nurse's "janky" box-and-one defence — a key element that got lost in the drama was the emergence of Golden State centre DeMarcus Cousins.

The big man nicknamed "Boogie" had 11 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocked shots over 28 minutes while playing in foul trouble in Golden State's 109-104 win in Toronto on Sunday.

Cousins' performance is a welcome sign for a Warriors team that will need him to step up. The Warriors entered Wednesday's Game 3 with star Kevin Durant out with a calf injury, centre Kevon Looney out for the series and sharpshooter Thompson in questionable health.

"Game 2 was a huge step in the right direction in terms of him being able to play that many minutes and just increase his workload with all he's been through this last 16, 18 months," Warriors star point guard Steph Curry said.

"So (we're) happy to have him back. He's going to be huge for us the rest of the series."

Cousins did not make the same impact in Game 3, however, being held to four points and three rebounds on 1-of-7 shooting in 19 minutes.

On a team roster packed with NBA Finals experience, Cousins has very little. He made his first Finals start Sunday in just the fourth post-season game of his career, including a cameo appearance in Game 1 of this series. But he looked poised on Sunday, physically challenging veteran Raptors centre Marc Gasol, finding teammates for open looks while hitting a three-pointer of his own. He was also 4-for-4 from the foul line.

Cousins said he's capable of more.

"Oh, I'm far from a finished product," he said."That's the encouraging part about all of this. I know I got a lot of work to do. I know I got a lot of room for improvement. So obviously it's a process, and I just got to go through it."

Cousins suffered a torn left quadriceps muscle in Game 2 of the Warriors' first round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, and at the time he was expected to miss the rest of the post-season. But he looks to be in better health, if his battles in the middle with Gasol in Sunday were any indication.

"Yeah, he obviously came out with a certain game plan against Gasol," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. "The first possession of the game he went out and damn near tackled him, and then the ball went out of bounds and he clobbered him again on the way out of bounds. So he was obviously going to go out there and try to physically intimidate him.

"He also passed the ball pretty well. He was a big presence in there. ... He's got tons of talent. He's a big body. I figured as the series goes on and he gets the timing back and things, he'll keep playing better."

After an impressive 20-point, seven-rebound performance in Game 1, Gasol was limited to six points on Sunday. The centre knows the Raptors have to do a better job of cutting off Cousins' passing lanes.

"Cousins has always been a great passer. ... But we have to do a good job of pressuring and making them catch in different places," Gasol said. "Have to move through and put more pressure on them and do a better job of staying connected to our guys."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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