You'd hear it everywhere.
"The Warriors are better without KD"
"Rushing Cousins back is a bad idea, esp. with how well Looney and Bell are playing"
"We have Bogut. Why even bother bringing Cousins in the Finals when we can play Bogut?"
We saw a short glimpse in Game 1 - with around 9 or so minutes to go in the game, the Toronto lead has been reduced to 3, 90-87 and Nick Nurse calls timeout. The typical bench quarter opener which is usually tasked to keep the lead to about the same or at best reduce the gap to a manageable level has DMC instead of Loon/Bell/Bogues. What started out as a 9 point deficit was reduced to 3 due to more passing out of DMC and actions between him and Klay leading to good looks for the rest of the bench mob on the floor with them. Post timeout though, Nurse called in some adjustment plays and less than a minute of game time later it was back up to 7 points.
Tonight, it was a different outcome. Plugging DMC in as the starter opened up some looks that the Toronto scouting did not probably dust tape off of.
DeMarcus is a gifted center with good court vision. He flicks passes with accuracy and good touch. He also has quite a bit of array of moves within the paint that can counteract a reacting help defender. He can hit a three here and there, bang bodies against big, hefty centers like Gasol and box out to help clear the defensive glass and trigger the fastbreak.
To me, the biggest factor he added to the team's eventual win was this: he was not going to allow a torrent of cheap follow ups while he was on the floor. A few came through far and between, especially later in the game where one can clearly see how gassed he was. The numbers weren't All-Star numbers, but you can see the championship effort he brought into the game with him despite being out more than a month and how much rust he was flashing during the first half.
He passed well (6 assists) hit a three, grab 10 boards and his presence changed shots around the Raptor's end of the court.
Now we see the real value of DeMarcus - on the biggest and brightest stage, he shows that despite having so many labels tagged onto his on-court persona, he has what it takes to earn that ring - that he, won't just ride coattails. He will make the likes of Cook, McKinnie, Bogues and Jonas get better looks by trying to attract attention to him or With him out there, Coach Kerr is afforded a little more wiggle room to be able to stick with the Strength in Numbers mantra that the Warriors have been living by for quite some time now.