April was a good news/bad news month for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Over the first three weeks, they went 11-2, allowing them to keep pace with the equally hot Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns and put some daylight between them and the teams pounding on their third-place doorstep. But just when it looked like the Clippers were ready to overtake the Suns for second place, possibly even make a run at the top seed, they dropped back-to-back games to finish out the month and started May with a crucial loss to the Denver Nuggets. L.A. began the month in third place, and now they sit in fourth.
But from an individual standpoint, April (and the beginning of May) was all good news for veteran big man DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins.
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Waived by the Houston Rockets on February 23, Cousins signed a 10-day contract with the Clippers on April 5. Widely lauded, the move was seen as a sort of low-risk experiment for the Clippers who have been in need of more depth in the paint given the protracted absence of injured starting center Serge Ibaka. If Cousins could check his notorious attitude at the door and bring even a semblance of the skills that once made him a perennial All-Star, the Clippers would view the experiment as a win.
Though Cousins didn’t play much in those first 10 days, he clearly did enough to impress, inking a second 10-day contract on April 16 before eventually signing with the team for the remainder of the season on April 26.
And now, as the regular season winds to a close and the postseason sings its alluring siren song, the Cousins experiment is making the Clippers look good — very good.
‘Just Get Him on the Floor’
Over his last five games, despite averaging a mere 16.4 minutes, Cousins has recorded 12.0 points on 54.8% shooting and 7.6 rebounds. He posted his first double-double (11 points and 11 assists) in the Clippers’ loss to New Orleans on April 26, the day he signed with the team for the long haul, and explained to reporters after the game how head coach Ty Lue sees his role as he acclimatizes to a …read more