Warriors

DeMarcus Cousins needs ex-Warriors teammates' support after torn ACL

DeMarcus Cousins needs ex-Warriors teammates' support after torn ACL

You had to see and study their faces. One after another, the eyes and chins of the Warriors conveyed deep sadness and profound concern, not for themselves but for their fallen teammate.

When DeMarcus Cousins was helped off the court in Game 2 of the first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers in April, the fear running through his teammates was palpable. They were worried about Boogie’s reaction to another physical setback.

There is no doubt widespread dread contributed to the Warriors coughing away a 31-point lead, at home, allowing the Clippers to race to a victory that evened the series before it shifted to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4.

The Warriors, after all, had just watched their teammate lose a dream he had visualized ever since entering the NBA nearly a decade earlier. In the postseason for the first time, Cousins lasted 25 minutes.

That dream, reproduced when he signed with the Lakers last month, was shattered yet again on Thursday, when Cousins reportedly sustained a knee injury during a workout. According to multiple reports, he is expected to be diagnosed with a torn ACL.

Even when it seems Boogie had caught a professional break in signing with a championship contender for the second consecutive summer, he is punished by the invisible enemy that is rotten luck.

The Warriors were genuinely worried that Cousins might dip into at least a slight depression. He had spent nearly a year wrestling with the demanding rehabilitation required to recover from a ruptured Achilles’ tendon and made it back onto the court, only to tear a quad muscle less than three months later.

“I’m seriously worried about him,” one veteran teammate said of Cousins after Game 2 against the Clippers. “When something means so much to somebody and it’s taken away like that (snaps fingers), the mind can go to some dark places.

“I know he was counting on this. This is why he came here. We saw how hard he worked, and it paid off. He was finally in the playoffs. And now he’s gone. I only hope it’s not as bad as it looked.”

It wasn’t. Though it was thought Cousins could miss two months -- putting him out of the playoffs no matter how far the Warriors went -- he was back on the court in six weeks, in time to return for the NBA Finals against the Raptors.

When Boogie played eight low-impact minutes in Game 1, concern remained. Could he reach the level of conditioning necessary to compete at the highest level, at this most critical time?

So he delivered a highly encouraging Game 2, contributing 11 points, 10 rebounds and six assists over 28 minutes, helping the Warriors tie the series. The air in the locker room was cooler and lighter. Cousins allowed himself to smile.

And now this. The Warriors are sick. The Lakers are sicker. The people that care for Cousins are distraught. Boogie has to be the most despondent of all.

These three injuries, all to his lower body, all during the last 20 months, have cost him tens of millions of dollars. They have kept him away from his professional purpose for long stretches, resulting in the most trying times of his career -- far worse than he thought he had it during the nearly seven seasons he spent with the woeful and dysfunctional Sacramento Kings.

Cousins, who turned 29 on Tuesday, now has to fight off the despair sure to stalk him. He has to listen to the beat of his heart appreciate his family and realize that this is temporary and that he will have basketball for as long as he walks this earth.

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He’ll need constant support from friends and teammates and former teammates, as the pervasive fear of April plummeted to the outright angst of August.

No matter how you feel about the basketball player, and Boogie has his adversaries, wish the man well.

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 134-131 OT loss to Nuggets

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 134-131 OT loss to Nuggets

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Since the calendar flipped to 2020, the Warriors (9-33) have been searching for any sign of positively in a dormant season. They didn't find it Thursday night, losing to the Denver Nuggets 134-131 in overtime at Chase Center. 

The loss marked Golden State's 10th straight, as they fell to 0-9 in overtime games over the last two seasons. The Warriors led the majority of the night, taking a 19-point lead in the second half against the Nuggets (28-12) before squandering it in the fourth quarter. 

Michael Porter Jr. scored 18 points, including the go-ahead bucket with 1:16 to go in regulation. A minute later, Nikola Jokic hit a game-tying hook shot to send the game into overtime, leading to Golden State's latest demise.

Here are the takeaways from a disappointing loss:

Early defense gives way to second-half collapse. 

Golden State entered the game against the Nuggets with one of the worst defensive units in the league, allowing opponents to shoot 47 percent. On Thursday, they held the Nuggets to just 22.7 percent in the first quarter and forced two turnovers. By the end of the first half, Denver made just 15 of 49 (30.6 percent) from the field. 

Along the way, the Warriors outscored Denver in the paint and off the bench, building a 19-point lead. Then the Nuggets woke up, outscoring the 89-69 in the second half and overtime, using a 16-6 run to cut the lead to two in the fourth quarter. Before Porter's fourth-quarter layup, the Nuggets had not led all game. 

It was yet another disappointing turn of events for a Warriors team looking for any signs of development. 

Damion Lee returns with a bang

Lee has been waiting most of his career for a chance to play under a guaranteed deal. On Thursday, he made the most of his new status, finishing with 21 points and six assists in 37 minutes. 

Lee's importance to Golden State is apparent. During his 45 two-way days, he started 13 games, averaging 12.8 points over his last six outings. Upon return, Warriors coach Steve Kerr immediately put him in the starting lineup. 

Based on his new multi-year deal, the Warriors would like Lee to be a long-term piece. The plan was made possible by Lee's hard work. After two ACL tears, countless G League stints, and two two-way deals, he's finally on the long-term stage he deserves. 

Russell struggles again

D'Angelo Russell seemed primed for a tear after his 36-point performance last week in Memphis. After a 6-for-19 performance Thursday evening, those plans seem to be on pause. 

The result didn't seem likely in the first quarter, when Russell scored 10 points, including two 3-pointers in seven minutes. However, he shot 4-of-15 over the final three quarters and overtime. The sequence followed a recent theme for Russell, in which hot starts give way to puzzling finishes. In Tuesday's blowout loss to Dallas, he finished 5-of-17 from the field after making four of his first seven shots. 

Russell has the ability to go on large scoring binges. But with that strength comes occasional off-nights. If Russell can curtail the latter, the Warriors can be dangerous as long as he's on the roster. 

Klay Thompson shoots in full Warriors uniform on Chase Center court

Klay Thompson shoots in full Warriors uniform on Chase Center court

Just two days ago, injured Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson said he would "love to get out there" on the court with his teammates.

On Thursday, half of that declaration came true.

Thompson, who is rehabbing a surgically repaired torn left ACL, was out on the court at Chase Center shooting in full uniform.

Thompson was even sporting a headband. The shooting session lasted roughly 20 minutes.

Thompson spoke to the media before the Warriors game on Tuesday and provided an update on his recovery.

“It’s a tough part of the season,” Thompson said during halftime of the Warriors-Mavericks game. “It’s very rare for me not to be grinding through with them. But I’m trying to make sure this type of injury never happens to me again. So, I’ll be very patient because I want to play at a high level until I’m in my late-30s.”

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The Warriors and Thompson have yet to decide if the All-Star will return this season. The team is scheduled to provide an update on Thompson's status in mid-February.

While we wait for Thompson to return to game action, we can just enjoy watching his sweet stroke again in these short bursts.