DeMarcus gets bounced, but Warriors still have a ‘great night’
OAKLAND — So DeMarcus Cousins was bounced for the violation of one of those only-in-the-NBA calls, a flagrant foul 2, which required a video review almost as long as the first half — OK, that’s an exaggeration, although not by much.
But thanks are offered to Cousins, a.k.a. Boogie. He provided a bit of controversy, as well as a bit of contact, to a game that had no suspense or excitement whatsoever, other than the fact that it clinched a fifth straight Pacific Division championship for the Warriors.
The Dubs have lost their share of one-sided games this season, but none was as uninteresting as Sunday evening when they beat the Charlotte Hornets by 47 points. Yes, 47 points, 137-90.
That wasn’t a game, it was a joke. You expect some competition out there. It was more like a concession.
These were the Warriors we haven’t seen enough of this season, a team in full flow: Kevin Durant perfect, if self-constrained (took five shots, made five shots), Steph Curry (25 points) and Klay Thompson (24) splashing brotherly, and off the bench Quinn Cook (5 of 6 on threes, 21 points total) reminding us of his game and shots when called upon a year ago.
“It was a great night,” confirmed Warriors coach Steve Kerr.
If a night that James Borrego, the Charlotte coach, said involved one of his team’s “most unprofessional approaches to a game.” That takes in everything. And nothing.
What Cousins did could meet the same description. In the second quarter, he and the Hornets' Willy Hernangomez were battling for position down low, as big men have been known to do, and Cousins' right arm made contact with Hernangomez’ head.
The officials watched the video and decided even if the contact was unintentional it occurred. DeMarcus was sent to the locker room. Tsk, tsk. The fans at Oracle Arena began to boo, proving they were awake — which the Hornets may not have been.
Andrew Bogut replaced Cousins, and the Warriors didn’t miss a beat — and shooting 60.2 percent, hardly missing a shot.
“That’s just the way we play,” Kerr said when someone asked about Durant and Draymond Green setting up Steph and Klay.
“The ball moves. We rarely have a guy who has 15 assists (Durant and Green had nine each). We have so many playmakers. When they share the ball like they did tonight, it’s really pretty to watch.
“I thought Kevin set a great tone tonight in the first quarter, distributing and getting us going . . . I was really thrilled the way the bench closed the game in the fourth quarter (when the Warriors outscored the Hornets 32-18).”
When things go well, it’s a time for laughter, for needling teammates. The way Green, who went to Michigan State, which beat Duke to reach the Final Four, needled Quinn Cook, a “Dookie.”
“It was a tough couple of hours for me,” sighed Cook, about watching the NCAAs and then hearing Green. “I’d rather lose to anybody else except Draymond.”
But the game at Oracle eased the pain.
“Staying positive,” said Cook. “Coach Kerr has been there for me. After games he’ll shoot with me or text me or give me a call. He’s a players-first coach. He cares about us and how we are doing, doesn’t matter how well we are playing on the court. He gave me a great opportunity since I got here.”
With the terrific Chicago Bulls teams of the ‘80s, the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen teams, Kerr was the guy Cook has been on a Warriors team with so many stars, waiting to be called.
“He went through a stretch this year where he wasn’t playing that much,” Kerr said of Cook, “and I told him I used to play that role, many times, many seasons . . .When you don’t play a lot, each shot takes on too much meaning, You just have to trust that things will change, but it takes a little longer for a reserve to get out of a rut like that. He’s such a great shooter. And we know what he can do.”
We know what the Warriors can do, and even without DeMarcus Cousins they did it big time against the Hornets.