NBA News: Warriors' DeMarcus Cousins cleared to play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals
Golden State Warriors' starting center DeMarcus Cousins will be available to play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. Warriors coach Steve Kerr made the news public during the shootaround on Thursday. Kerr also announced that he's unsure if Kevin Durant, who suffered a strain on his left calf would be available for practice before Game 2 of the Finals.
Cousins, who has not played a single game since tearing his left quad muscle in Game 2 of the first round against the Clippers, will suit up against the Raptors in Game 1. However, it is still unknown if he will play heavy minutes as the Warriors have the luxury of employing different personnel at the 5, as a result of which, they might not want to rush things up.
Overall, it's positive news for the Warriors, who relied heavily on Andrew Bogut, Kevon Looney and sometimes even Jordan Bell to fill the center spot throughout the NBA Playoffs Several times, it was Draymond Green who played as a center in a small ball lineup.
DeMarcus Cousins will provide the Warriors with some interior toughness and post game which the Raptors will have a hard time stopping. The 28-year-old, who can also shoot well from distance will provide the Warriors with some necessary spacing on the floor, something that always seemed amiss when Looney or Green played at the 5.
Moreover, Boogie Cousins will be a tougher match-up for Raptors center Marc Gasol as the 34-year-old Spaniard will have his hands full guarding him.
As for Durant, who has not yet participated in shootarounds and on-court activities, he will be re-evaluated after Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
Expect Cousins to start the game but play on a minutes restriction, as he will be rusty coming off an injury. Bogut, who started in place of Cousins after he went down, will likely be relegated to the bench. Backup center Kevon Looney could still see around 20 minutes of action as he has been fairly decent during this postseason.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals 2019 will be played at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.