clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Demarcus Cousins held back one extra game, and the Warriors looked as good as they ever have

Is Golden State waging psychological warfare? Intentionally or not, it sure feels that way, as Warriors slap 147 points up against the Pelicans

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

New Orleans Pelicans v Golden State Warriors
Andre Iguodala, hitting rainbow floaters

Intentionally or not, the Golden State Warriors sent a loud message to the rest of the league with a pair of impressive wins. In the midst of one of their best regular season stretches, the Warriors seem to have found themselves - just in time to reinvent the entire thing.

“No, I wasn’t going to return against them”

- Demarcus Cousins explaining why he didn’t play against the Pelicans

According to a report from Chris Haynes at Yahoo Sports, Demarcus Cousins could have returned against his former team. The Warriors ended up defeating the New Orleans Pelicans in a tight contest, but it almost looked a lot different.

“I didn’t because I didn’t’ want to give [the media] a storyline. Straight up. You can ask [general manager] Bob [Myers] that. I didn’t want to give y’all a storyline. That’s why [my return] is Friday.”

So. Cousins could have returned earlier. We got some inklings of this earlier, when coach Steve Kerr referred to his return date as a “window.” This is a good indication of how Cousins views himself and the media’s role in defining this new era of Warriors basketball. He’s not here for revenge or just to prove the haters wrong - rather, he’s working with the team to figure out just the right time to return.

Lucky for us, this extra game without him gave us one of the more exciting wins of the season.

A fitting end to an era

“Umm, honestly just playing the game.” This was Andre Iguodala, talking about the difference between how the team looks now and the moribund corpse of Steve Kerr’s nightmares that slogged through most of December. He points to the fact that the team roared out to a 9-1 start before all the injuries and “before the world ended.” That “world ended” line was delivered with a smirk. Like many of us around here, Iguodala knew not to prematurely worry about the Warriors early season struggles. An injury to Stephen Curry looks a lot like a tailspin.

Well, the world is about to end (again) - because this game was the last look at this iteration of the team. Kevon Looney, fittingly, finished strong. Seven points, 12 rebounds (including six on the offensive end), three assists, two steals, and two blocks - against one of the tougher frontcourts in the league.

Looney may be playing himself out of the Warriors’ price range. He’s been phenomenal after being pressed into the starting Center position. While he doesn’t have the skillset that Cousins has, Looney has managed to establish himself as a legitimate best option on this team.

Not to be outdone, Draymond Green also turned in what was definitely his best offensive showing of the season: 17 points (including four made threes), six rebounds, fourteen assists and just one turnover.

Much like Iguodala joking about how the world ended, there’s no shortage of people out there who were ready to lay a wreath at the feet of Draymond Green and mourn the fallen dynasty.

I try not to quote my own tweets in these articles, but I think this occasion calls for an exception to that rule:

So what’s next?

Nobody really knows exactly what this Demarcus Cousins experiment is going to look like, but if the player quotes are any indication, the league is in big trouble. You see, it’s not just that a good team got another talented player. The problem the league is going to have to come face-to-face with is that this team - just off of how it looked last night - could win a title.

Much like when we added Kevin Durant after a 73-win season, the Warriors just spent the last two games sending a message to the league, “look out, because it’s going to get better. But just in case y’all forgot, even without Cousins, this is a team that can beat anyone.”

They may have forgotten at one point, but the league has been put back on notice - the Warriors are the team to beat, and it is about to get a whole lot harder.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Golden State of Mind Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Golden State Warriors news from Golden State of Mind