DeMarcus Cousins holds the key to one more Warriors playoff run


After being blamed by both fans and media for the Warriors' recent woes, Cousins - who declined to speak to reporters over the past few days - brushed off the criticism postgame, acknowledging that he appreciated his teammates publicly defending him.

With approximately 15 games remaining in the regular season, the Warriors continue to be the team to beat in the National Basketball Association.

The Denver Nuggets, the biggest surprise in the West, trail the Warriors by two games. Give them credit they made shots and played well. Cousins did the majority of his damage Wednesday against Capela, but Houston's center didn't seem too concerned after the Warriors' lone win over the Rockets this season. Of the team's 10 losses at Oracle Arena, the Warriors have lost in blowouts to the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors.

The game was tied later in the quarter after a three-point play by Paul before the Warriors used a 9-2 surge to take a 76-69 lead with about five minutes left in the third. He also has a 20.68 PER rating.

Miles poured in a season-high 33 points on 11-for-16 shooting from the field and was 8-for-12 from beyond the arc.

"It doesn't matter who scores or whatever, we're just playing to win the game", he said. The Warriors kept him out of the lineup for precautionary reasons. With Kevin Durant sitting out with a sore ankle and the game being played at home, the odds were certainly in their favor. Heading into the game, they were on their worst 10-game stretch of the season with a 4-6 clip.

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Pouring salt in the "DubNation" wound Houston Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni commented on the loss following the teams NBA-best nine game winning streak in a Monday postgame presser.

"He just played probably the most complete game since he's been here", said Klay Thompson, whose 30 points included three layups and a 3-pointer off feeds from Cousins. Stephen Curry added 24 points for the Warriors, while the Rockets were paced by James Harden's 29 and Chris Paul's 24.

The Warriors' lack of scoring resulted in an assist total that didn't quite reach their season average. Those other three-they aren't too shabby. The Rockets were ready to turn the corner until this setback. It'll get their attention. Come postseason time, every team deemed a worthy challenger looks foolish with hindsight, bringing everyone back to the drawing board and praying for just a single competitor capable of just making things interesting.

Cousins, signed as an injured free agent in July previous year, has had to blend with the Warriors powerhouse lineup since returning in January from a ruptured Achilles tendon, but he established himself as a physical inside force who could give Houston fits in a playoff series.

"It's OK", Harden said when answering a question that started with how the Rockets were on a roll.