DeMarcus Cousins will miss Monday night’s tilt between the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs. The center will undergo an MRI on his sore right foot, as reported by Anthony Slater of The Athletic. He left Saturday’s 110-88 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder after notching 12 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.
Steve Kerr calls the MRI “precautionary,” says NBC Sports’ Logan Murdock.
On the year, the former top-5 NBA Draft pick has averaged 15.6 points and 7.9 rebounds. He will be joined on the bench by veteran wing Andre Iguodala, who is healing from a tooth extraction.
On the positive side, All-Star forward Kevin Durant will play for the first time in eight days after suffering a right ankle contusion. He only missed two games after due to the Warriors’ light schedule.
He felt comfortable after Monday’s team shootaround, reports ESPN’s Nick Friedell.
“I’m excited to play again,” Durant said after Monday’s shootaround. “I’m looking forward to another opportunity to get better.”
Durant arrived at AT&T Center about an hour before shootaround so he could test out his ankle. He came with members of the Warriors’ medical staff and teammate Quinn Cook and is ready to get back on the floor.
“It is good to get everything figured out,” Durant said. “I had some nagging injuries here and there. To get it figured out feels pretty good, but it sucked not being able to play.”
Without Cousins in the mix, newly-acquired center Andrew Bogut will be forced into the rotation only a week after finishing his National Basketball League season in Australia. Per Friedell:
“I’m gonna play him,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “I’m gonna play him tonight. Without DeMarcus we’ve got to guard (Spurs power forward) LaMarcus Aldridge … Bogut will be out there at some point.”
Initially, Kerr didn’t want to make Bogut fly to the middle of the country for a couple of games after he had just flown over from Sydney, but Bogut’s presence is needed because of Cousins’ absence.
Bogut projects to continue Golden State’s recent defensive resurgence. In the last 2 games (both without Durant), the Warriors stifled James Harden and Houston to just 104 points. A few night later, they held the Thunder to under 90.
Bogut is known for his prowess on defense. He was just named the NBL Best Defensive Player for 2019, and made the All-NBA second-team in 2015. He also led the league in blocks in 2011.
“We’re doing a good job,” Durant said of his team’s defensive performance. “We’re forcing teams into what they don’t want. Against Houston, we forced James [Harden] off the 3-point line, we didn’t let him dance, or shoot his step-back 3-pointer as much … and last game, I think we did a good job on Westbrook, forcing him into tough shots all night.”
Tonight’s contest holds the lowest win probability for Golden State for the rest of the season (according to Team Rankings). That still means a 54 percent chance at improving to 48-21 and in front of the Western Conference’s second-place Denver Nuggets.