Cousins shines as Warriors end Rockets’ nine-game win streak
The Associated Press
HOUSTON — In his first season with the Golden State Warriors, DeMarcus Cousins hasn’t quite adjusted to the level of scrutiny and interest that comes with playing for the defending back-to-back NBA champions.
And after his best game of the season on Wednesday night in a win over the Houston Rockets, Cousins likened the media frenzy surrounding the team to a soap opera his grandmother watched every day when he was a child.
“I’m sure y’all have heard of it — ‘As the World Turns.’ She called it her stories. I used to watch it with her and every episode it was something,” he said. “That’s what this has turned into — ‘As the World Turns.’ “
So does Cousins, who scored a season-high 27 points to help end Houston’s nine-game winning streak with a 106-104 win, want to star in the basketball version of the show?
“No I don’t,” he said. “I play basketball. I don’t look for the drama or stories or anything like that. I just want to go play basketball.”
Some have wondered if Cousins is a good fit with this fast-paced team and there have been some growing pains as he’s been worked into the team after missing the first 47 games this season recovering from an Achilles’ tendon injury.
But on Wednesday, with Kevin Durant out with an ankle injury, Cousins shined. He added eight rebounds and a season-best seven assists as Houston searched, without success, for ways to stop him. There were times the Rockets switched on defense and left much smaller players attempting to guard the 6-foot-11, 270-pound player. But big or small, Cousins didn’t care who was on him.
“I don’t think anybody can stop me one-on-one period,” he said. “So you can put whoever you want on me honestly.”
Klay Thompson scored 30 points to allow the Warriors to bounce back after a loss to Phoenix on Sunday, and avoided being swept by Houston after the Rockets won the first three meetings this season.
Golden State, which had lost six of 10 overall, is 4 1/2 games ahead of Houston atop the Western Conference standings. The Rockets are tied with Oklahoma City for third place behind Denver.
After trailing by 14 in the fourth quarter, a three-point play by Chris Paul got Houston within one with 10.8 seconds left. Stephen Curry made two free throws with eight seconds remaining to make it 106-103, and James Harden hit one of two from the line at the other end with 6.4 seconds to go. The miss on the second one bounced high off the rim and was rebounded by Andre Iguodala, securing Golden State’s victory.
Harden was unhappy that they didn’t play good defense until late in the game.
“We locked in and we got stops and we knew who we were guarding,” he said. “We knew who we wanted to score, (but) we should have been knowing that the entire game.”
Harden had 29 points and 10 assists for the Rockets, but shot just 2 of 12 on 3-pointers. Paul finished with 24 points.
“We just had too many mistakes,” Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said.
Curry added 24 points for Golden State. Durant missed the game with a sprained right ankle.
Thompson made five 3s to give him 203 this season. He joined Curry as the only players in NBA history to have seven straight seasons with 200 3-pointers.