OAKLAND -- The Warriors were sleepwalking.
They never trailed at any point in the first half of Saturday's 115-101 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, but a lead that had been as large as 14 was cut to five at halftime. Then, the Lakers -- who were playing without LeBron James -- pulled even just over three minutes into the second half. Then Los Angeles scored 12 of the next 14 points in the contest, taking its largest lead of the entire night at 81-71 with 6:05 remaining in the third quarter.
The energy had been sucked out of the arena.
Then, all of a sudden, Oracle was louder than it had been, perhaps, all season.
Thirty-seven seconds later, DeMarcus Cousins sent the crowd into a frenzy when he posterized Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma with a driving dunk. It was instant pandemonium inside Oracle.
Oh my Boogie 😱— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) February 3, 2019
"I thought his dunk brought the arena to life and brought the team to life," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Cousins' dunk after the win. "We were searching for energy and emotion up until that point. I think this was a typical game where you let your guard down a little because the team has players not playing, so there was no life in the building and our guys weren't generating any energy. That play sort of changed all that."
Cousins' three-point play ignited a 12-3 run to put the Warriors back in front. They eventually took an 88-85 lead into the fourth quarter, throughout which they trailed by a grand total of one point for a total of 11 seconds. They outscored the Lakers 27-14 in the fourth frame, and held a double-digit advantage for the final 5:21.
"Honestly, at that point I think we were kind of playing with a lot of frustration in the game," Cousins said of the timing of his dunk. "I feel like that kind of helped or was a turning point for us in the game. If you want to call it a spark or whatever the case may be, I would agree with it."
It's been a long road back from a torn Achilles tendon for Cousins, and he's definitely not all the way back to pre-injury form. But dunks like the one he had Saturday against the Lakers -- as well as the one that constituted his very first basket as a Warrior -- certainly are encouraging signs.
"You've watched me play for a long time," Cousins said. "Obviously, I haven't been finishing the way I would like. That's still a process I'm trying to get through, and just finding my touch, and balance in the air and around the rim. So, it was a good finish, so I'm happy about that."
Cousins is happy with the dunk. The Warriors are happy they got the win. And the Oracle crowd?
Well, they're just happy they got to witness one of the more memorable in-game dunks in recent franchise history.