A Golden State Warriors three-peat felt inevitable even before DeMarcus Cousins suited up. Now, thoughts to the contrary seem plain irresponsible.
There was a time fans dreamt the Warriors could come crashing down if Cousins couldn’t come back in full shape from a ruptured Achilles that cost him the end of last season and the beginning of this one. NBA contrarians hoped his injury restricted his movement, took lift from his jump shot, and immobilized an already slow big, to say nothing of the chemistry problems his combustable personality might cause.
But Boogie has slowly been proving those ideas invalid, and on Wednesday night, he made his biggest statement so far in a win over the Rockets.
With Kevin Durant out of the lineup and Golden State on the road, Cousins powered the Warriors to a 106-104 win against a Rockets team that had won nine in a row. Boogie went off for a season-best 27 points, with a well-rounded eight rebounds and seven assists.
The Warriors played their offense through this supposed potential weak link, and won. They played at a drastically slower rate with Cousins in the game and outscored the Rockets by 13 points per 100 possessions in those minutes.
What luxury it is for one of the greatest dynasties ever to also add a player like Cousins.
Cousins was the Warriors’ best passer of the night
Boogie scored only seven points in the first half, but he made the most of his minutes as a facilitator early on. This is the first time in Cousins’ career that he’s been around so much talent, and his willingness to pass on so-so shots to create better ones was never a given. Yet he’s been a terrific all-around teammate, and showcased that vision against Houston.
Cousins saw cutters and passed out of the block, which negated any double-teams Houston sent his way. Occupying the opposing big men — whether they were Kenneth Faried or Clint Capela — was essential in making way for a cutting Klay Thompson all night.