As Kevin Durant took a break in his final hot stretch and Stephen Curry scored below 30% for the first time in five weeks, the Warriors were looking for someone to fill the void.
At the same time, DeMarcus Cousins was looking for a game that reminded him of the player he once was.
The team and the man got what they needed Monday night.
After being manhandled in defense in the first quarter, Cousins returned to the second quarter and played his best game as a warrior in a 121-110 victory over the Hornets at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte.
"He had some other good ones, but it's the happiest he's watched," coach Steve Kerr told reporters in North Carolina. "He looked more comfortable tonight. He made a few movements around the hoop where he showed great agility.
"It's the best he's watched."
The Cousins scored 24 points, a top in the season, as well as 11 rebounds, a top in the game, for a fourth double-double consecutive, the first warrior to accomplish this feat since David Lee in February 2014.
In addition, Cousins was able to flex his muscles and play his talents for 31 minutes, a maximum that he played since his activation on January 18 after nearly a year to recover and re-educate himself. as a result of rupture of the left Achilles tendon.
"I'm happier than playing," said Cousins. "I'm going to make sure I'll be a big hug to Steve after that."
Cousins request for more minutes. Sports medicine directors Rick Celebrini and Kerr play cautiously.
"He was hoping (increasing) his minutes," said Kerr. "He told me so and I know it. And he played very well tonight, so we were very comfortable with the rotation and the way it went. "
Cousins was well aware after a poor performance in the loss to Houston on Saturday night in Oakland. The Rockets targeted his defense and thrived, forcing him to admit that his self-confidence was shaken.
So what did the Hornets do? They did what every other team in the NBA will do, at least for the foreseeable future. They targeted Boogie, placing him early and often. Cody Zeller scored 12 of his 28 points, the highest of his career in the first quarter, and sometimes succeeded thereafter.
But after hesitating in the first minutes, Cousins found his comfort zone in the second quarter and maintained it for much of the match, giving the best of himself. He worked on the Hornets in attack, using animal movements to get to the field at 9 of 15 and finish over-10 for the match.
K harassed me (saying) "stop thinking about it and just go play," said Cousins, referring to Kevin Durant. "JC (Assistant Coach Jarron Collins) has also been in my head about going out and being aggressive."
Cousins have generally been aggressive. The problem was that there were too many occasions where his aggression carried judgment, resulting in mistakes or turnarounds. After giving up six times against Houston, Cousins had a setback against Charlotte.
"It was huge for him, and even more for him to place his legs under him, to see the ball get into the rim and start doing the movements he normally does," Durant said.
It was a night when neither Durant (7 of 15, 20 points) nor Curry (5 of 18, 16 points) burned the nets. There will be more parties like this because it's the way to go. Klay Thompson got 26 points, which is solid, but does not indicate a breakthrough.
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Maybe that's what the Cousins did, practically plunging into space and bursting with the kind of match that reminded them of some memories.
"It feels good to have a good one at my belt," he said. "I hope that it will be postponed to the next game."