If anyone knows a thing or two about how the Warriors play, it's Damian Lillard, who was part of a Trail Blazers team that Golden State just dispatched via sweep in the Western Conference finals.
Lillard, an Oakland native, joined Mistah F.A.B. on the rapper's Instagram Live after the Warriors lost to the Raptors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
The Blazers star provided first-hand perspective on the Warriors' style and shared his thoughts on the game with F.A.B.
One of the main takeaways from the game was the return of DeMarcus Cousins, who called his improbable Finals comeback an "incredible feeling."
When the rapper asked Lillard if the addition of Cousins slows down the Warriors' pace, Lillard gave a detailed response.
"I wouldn’t say he slows Golden State down just because they play through the pass, they play on the pass, so they always passing the ball ahead, and they end up throwing it to the trailer, and they end up playing off of that," Lillard said. "So it ain’t like he’s slowing them down .... like he bringing the ball up and they throwing it to him on the block or nothing like that. They move the ball so I don’t think he slows them down.
"I just think ... They know how good he is. So if they throw the ball to Jordan Bell, they’re going to just cut off it expecting the ball. But they know he can’t put that s--t on the floor and scoring, or shooting it. So it's almost like they're respecting [Cousins] .. so they don't move as much. They don't move with the same purpose when he's got the ball because they know he can do something with it too."
Cousins had an up-and-down performance in the first NBA Finals game of his career. In eight minutes off the bench, he finished with three points on 0-of-2 shooting (3-of-4 from the foul line). Cousins had two assists and two steals, including a few nifty passes to set up easy buckets for his teammates. But he also appeared slow on defensive rotations and picked up two fouls. He was a minus-1 in the plus/minus.
Lillard compared the Warriors' style with Cousins on the floor to that of a lineup with Kevin Durant, as there's been plenty of talk about how the Warriors play with and without the two-time NBA Finals MVP.
"It's the same thing when KD's out there, they don't move the same because they know KD's got the ball," Lillard said. "So they just trust him. They know what it is."
While Kevin Durant still is doubtful for Game 2, Cousins will be active again, ready to contribute wherever needed. It'll be interesting to see what kind of role the big man plays for Golden State as the two-time defending champions seek a win to even the series.