Drake knew. Kevin Durant crumpled to the floor with Klay Thompson beside him looking around with a pained expression on his face and the crowd was cheering. But in front of his courtside seat, Drake looked distraught. He spun around and now several of the Toronto Raptors players – Serge Ibaka and Danny Green among them – started flapping their arms to quiet the crowd.
This will be a talking point, Toronto. It can’t help but be. Perhaps a sober second thought will take over Tuesday morning and the emphasis will be on how the crowd at Scotiabank Arena turned cheers to chants of “K.D.” as Durant was helped off the court, Raptors players patting him on the back and whispering some words of encouragement. Maybe the great and good of the U.S. media will give you a break. Or mention karma, and a 106-105 loss to the Golden State Warriors. Or motivation for the Warriors.
In the meantime, DeMarcus Cousins thinks those of you who cheered the sight of his fallen teammate are – and I quote – “trash.”
“So trash,” a brooding Cousins said as he stood outside the Warriors locker-room after a 14-point, 19-plus minute evening that including a much-needed jolt to his shell-shocked teammates after Durant’s injury. “We’re all idolized as superstar athletes. We’re idolized for what we do between the lines and then once we lash out and do human type things, then we can sit back and …”
That was pointed. But not as pointed as the words Boogie had for the chattering classes who suggested Durant was somehow milking his calf injury, that his status as a free-agent might have played a part in the decision.
“F— them,” he said, tersely. “F— ‘em.”
Yeah… I’m not sure this is part of the best-laid plans scenario, Toronto. I’m not sure having Steph Curry, who played ball as a kid here, sitting up at a podium at the sport’s marquee event saying he was “confused” by the reaction.
“I’ve lived here, I really enjoyed the people and their passion and excitement for not only the game, but just when you come into town they just enjoy life and they’re nice people … very confused around that reaction,” he said. “It’s not my experience with the people of this city, and I commend Danny Green and Kyle Lowry especially I think they were the ones kind of signalling to the crowd, like, let’s check ourselves a little bit.
“You understand this is about an individual, a human being and not, ‘oh, shoot he’s out, he’s hurt, we won the championship.’”
Added Draymond Green: “That’s crazy. That’s classless. I’ve always believed Canadians were nice people… but that was classless.”
Look, we all know what happened: the momentary excitement of seeing a guy who was in the process of torching your team with the first title in franchise history beckoning, suddenly hitting the ground. Hitting the ground and you know he’s done. This one is an Achilles injury in the same leg where his calf muscle was injured. This one was serious enough that Warriors general manager Bob Myers took the podium to accept blame even though he said the decision to play was a collaborative one.
And so enter the star-crossed Boogie Cousins, who figured to lose a lot of time not only with Durant returning, but with Kevon Looney coming back after a shoulder injury. Looney – wouldn’t you know – also had to leave the game, although he later said he had an X-ray and has been cleared for Game 6 as long as he can manage his pain threshold.
Cousins didn’t play a second in the first quarter. But with Durant out, he entered the game and in a space of 3:30 grabbed a pair of rebounds, scored a layup, a floating driving bank shot and a 27-foot three-pointer followed by a steal. Cousins had nine points, five rebounds and an assist in 6:18 of play. Yeah, he was a little unchained in the fourth quarter, a one-man walking and talking video review waiting to happen. But, hey, that’s Boogie, right?
“I thought DeMarcus was fantastic tonight,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. “He stayed ready. He didn’t get the first call for that second-quarter run. We went to [Andrew Bogut] and then with the injury we knew we needed his scoring and he stayed ready and played a brilliant game. I’m so happy for him and he’s been through an awful lot himself over the last year plus his own injuries.”
Green credited Cousins with jolting the Warriors back into the game.
“That was a big moment,” said Green. “DeMarcus had been out of the starting lineup and didn’t really know if he was going to play at all. He answered the bell. That was a huge moment for us and, you know, we need him to continue playing that way.
“There won’t always be shots falling. But we need the energy he brought to the floor if we’re going to do this damned thing.”
Cousins said he was “just trying to do his part.” But it was clear after his own experiences with injuries – he signed a mid-level exception with the Warriors for $5.3 million after an Achilles injury of his own in January 2018, and after suffering a torn left quadriceps in Game 2 of the 2019 playoffs that kept him out until Game 1 of the Finals. His mind was as much with Durant as anyplace else.
And he’d heard his GM had shed tears.
“It’s obvious our organization cares,” Cousins said. “It’s bigger than basketball here. Um, outside of these lines we are human beings. We have lives, emotions, ups and downs. It’s just that when we get between those lines we have to zone all that out and become these superstar athletes. That being said … they know us outside of the lines. They know the everyday struggles. It’s not about basketball, it’s everything else. The s— that y’all don’t care about.”