Since DeMarcus Cousins announced his decision to join the Golden State Warriors in July last year, the league has been crying in angst and quivering in fear about the potential devastation this partnership could wreck upon the league.
Even though he was coming back from a debilitating achilles injury and didn’t have a single minute of game time shared with the Warrior’s championship core, just the thought of what the sum of those parts could be, resulted in a specter that has haunted the league since — even while the Warrior’s early season struggles opened the door for some teams to challenge their position a top the standings.
A literal Boogieman of sorts.
Tonight the world finally got their first glimpse of that imaginary monster lurking in the shadows. And while it wasn’t exactly pretty, there were enough positive moments to silence any doubts the Warriors may have had and instill some tangible sense of dread in each of the other 29 teams.
Cousins wound up with a solid first outing, scoring 14 points with three 3-pointers, wrangling 6 rebounds, and dishing 3 assists, to help the Warriors outpace the Los Angeles Clippers in a 112-94 win.
Beautiful pass from Boogie pic.twitter.com/pHEBJuvJDV— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) January 19, 2019
It took some time for him to get going and his conditioning still needs some work. But his fit on this team — especially on the offensive end — was nearly seamless on many possessions.
His first bucket in nearly half a year also doubled as the first bucket for the Warriors, as he slammed home a monstrous dunk on beautiful pick and roll play with Kevin Durant.
In one seamless moment, Cousins seemed to announce to the world and to himself that he was back.
Unfortunately foul trouble took him out of the early goings of the game and restricted his minutes overall as he eventually fouled out early in the fourth quarter. But those whistles weren’t limited to just him, as the referees seemed intent on mucking up the game with a multitude of foul calls that confused both teams.
The sight of Draymond Green and Doc Rivers sharing a moment of laughter with one another at halftime regarding their amusement over how the referee crew was handling the game was all you’d need to see to understand how terrible this game was being called.
This disjointed flow seemed to take both sides out of their rhythm throughout the first half and neither were able to separate from one another with a halftime spread of 52-51 in the Warrior’s favor.
Coming into this game, the Warriors have been on a hot streak from deep, setting a NBA record of 10 treys in their previous game.
But none of the stars were able to get it going from deep. Despite hitting his first two, Stephen Curry went cold, only dropping in another one on nine more attempts. Klay Thompson ended up going 0-for-4 and Durant went 2-for-7.
Fortunately, the Warriors balanced that out with some of the best defense they’ve played in a long time. They held the Clippers to a dismal 36.5% from the field and were able to steal the ball eleven times — leading to a bevy of fast-break points that offset their cold-shooting from beyond the arc.
This mostly took shape in the 3rd quarter as the Warriors started to break away with a double-digit lead. Forgoing their typical long-range assault in favor of an assortment of midrange daggers and back-cut layups, the Warriors turned back to a past era by using 2-pointers to slowly drown out their opponent.
The Clippers were able to go on a late run to eventually cut the lead back down to 8 points as the quarter came to a close. But this did nothing but set the stage for Cousins to deliver his ultimate mark on the game.
To start the final period, he knocked down back-to-back 3-point shots before assisting Andre Iguodala on another triple to lead the Warriors on a 9-0 run that essentially put the game away.
He unfortunately fouled out shortly after — much to the laughter of his teammates in celebration of his otherwise all-around solid game — which cut short the spectacle beginning to take form.
The bench gave Boogie a standing-o after fouling out pic.twitter.com/AzT1iNvvxM— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) January 19, 2019
The rest of the game continued on without much drama as the Warrior’s lead never dipped below double digits in a leisurely waltz to the team’s seventh straight win. The Clippers were just never able to put together another run due to Curry and Durant keeping them at bay, as the two ended up with 28 and 24 points respectively.
This game was both ugly and unremarkable in lot of ways. But in 15 of the 48 minutes played, fans everywhere got a taste of what many have been anticipating since the news of Cousins signing with the Warriors broke the NBA world.
He still has some rust to shake off and there will surely be some hiccups the team will need to overcome while further assimilating him into the offense and defense. But in its purest form, it’s now been seen that his ability to play-make, shoot, and post is a puzzle piece that can neatly fit into what the Warriors like to do.
Hide your kids. Hide your wife. The Boogieman is real.