The Golden State Warriors suffered a potentially significant blow Monday when DeMarcus Cousins limped off the court after suffering a non-contact leg injury.
And they blew a massive lead in his absence. The Los Angeles Clippers rallied from a 31-point deficit to stun the Warriors, 135-131 and tie the series at 1-1.
The win marks the largest comeback in NBA playoff history.
Golden State entered the fourth quarter holding a 108-94 lead, but Lou Williams led the furious fourth-quarter comeback in a 36-point, 11-assist effort while Patrick Beverley continued to harass the Warriors on the defensive end.
The Clippers outscored the Warriors, 41-23 in the final stanza and took their first lead since early in the first quarter when Landy Shamet’s 3-pointer dropped through the net with 16.5 seconds left for a 133-131 edge.
Stephen Curry attempted to answer on the other end, but when his 3-pointer with 9.3 seconds clanged off the rim, Montrezl Harrell secured the rebound for the Clippers, essentially ending the game.
Clippers rally after Cousins injury
Cousins suffered the injury while chasing down a loose ball in the first quarter. He fell down without being touched and clutched his left thigh before eventually limping off the court to the locker room.
The Warriors told TNT’s Kristen Ledlow that he suffered a quadriceps injury and won’t return to the game. He’s scheduled for an MRI on Tuesday.
Report: Torn quad feared
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the team is concerned that Cousins suffered a torn quad and is holding out hope that an MRI reveals that it’s just a strain.
Kerr: Warriors ‘devastated’ for Cousins
While there was no early long-term diagnosis for Cousins, Warriors coach Steve Kerr didn’t sound optimistic when talking with Ledlow during an in-game interview.
“The rotation’s the rotation,” Kerr said when asked about the impact Cousins’ absence has on his rotation. “We’re more worried about DeMarcus. The guy’s been waiting for this moment his entire life, his entire career, and he’s finally here. We’re all just devastated to see the injury.”
Cousins’ injury history
Cousins returned to action midway through the season after a torn left Achilles suffered while playing with the New Orleans Pelicans last season left him sidelined for several months.
Cousins averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.5 blocks in 30 games this season for the Warriors. A four-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA center, Cousins is playing on a one-year deal in Golden State after suffering the Achilles tear that came at the end of an expiring contract.
This year has been a chance to show what he’s still capable of after missing out on a likely max contract because of the Achilles injury.
With Cousins out, the Warriors will look to Kevon Looney and recently signed Andrew Bogut at center.
Well wishes from Barkley
TNT’s Charles Barkley, who’s final NBA season ended prematurely when he suffered a ruptured quadriceps tendon, sent well wishes to Cousins during halftime.
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Source:: Daily times