OAKLAND — DeMarcus Cousins crumbled in front of the Warriors bench just three and a half minutes into Game 2, clutching his left quad and wincing in pain.
Kevon Looney watched from his seat, eerily familiar with what Cousins had just endured. After Cousins clawed back from ACL surgery this year only to suffer a likely season-ending torn quad early in the first quarter Monday night, his role will be filled in large part by Looney, who underwent two hip surgeries in his first two seasons with the Warriors.
“I know it’s frustrating for him,” Looney said. “I’ve been through something like that, getting hurt, getting all the way back and then getting hurt again, so I know how frustrating it is and he’s a resilient guy.”
Looney wasn’t the first one off the bench after Cousins’ injury – that was Andrew Bogut – but he scored a career-high 19 points in just over 19 minutes while going 6-for-6 from the field and 7-of-8 from the foul line in the Warriors’ 135-131 loss to the Clippers in Game 2 at Oracle Arena that tied the series at 1-1.
Looney, Bogut and to a smaller degree Jordan Bell will compensate for the loss of Cousins, whose absence only adds to the bitter taste of an epic collapse in which the Warriors blew a 31-point lead, the largest lead blown in NBA playoff history.
That unraveling will rightfully be the story of Monday night, but there remain 15 wins between the Warriors and a three-peat, and they’ll need more of the same Kevon Looney they saw Monday to achieve such a feat.
“My role pretty much stays the same,” Looney said. “I don’t know who Steve is going to decide to start, but (Bogut) usually starts. I’ll get my same role, same minutes. I’ll probably get a little more time, but just bring the energy, try to be a little more aggressive when I get the ball down in the paint. (Cousins) is a force down in the paint and just keep going with what I’ve been doing, and things will work out for me.”
Looney barely topped his season average of 18.5 minutes per game, and his 19:28 clip Monday came only after Kevin Durant fouled out with 1:21 remaining in the fourth quarter. Looney hadn’t played the entire fourth quarter until Durant’s sixth foul, his 19 points sitting idle on the bench as the Warriors’ monstrous lead dissipated.
Yet even as the Warriors process their two losses Monday night, one the game and one their starting center, there remains a Game 3 in Los Angeles on Thursday night that will feature a center (or three) not named DeMarcus Cousins playing a prominent role.
Cousins grabs his quad after falling early in Game 2 on Monday night. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)
Bogut played 16:30 in Game 2, scoring three points and grabbing nine rebounds with a plus-minus (+5) that tied for second-best on the team. Bell played only 3:36 with no shots attempted or rebounds, and drew the …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports