We still aren’t 100 percent sure when DeMarcus Cousins will return to the Warriors, but it appears he’s making amazing strides on getting there soon.
During practice Friday, Boogie and Kevin Durant played a “friendly” game of one-on-one, and Cousins absolutely destroyed KD with a dunk:
KD learning Boogie can’t be stopped 1-on-1 😂😂😂
— NBCSAuthentic (@NBCSAuthentic) December 21, 2018
It didn’t take long for Durant to go on social media and react. He saw it on our Instagram page and made sure to cover himself:
Everyone watching, whether a part of the media or anyone within range of the two, had to give an audible reaction, which makes it that much sweeter.
And then there’s this:
Boogie and KD still going at it in the locker room 😂
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) December 21, 2018
Even before the dunk, you could see the two having a blast with one another on the court and messing around. But it’s just great to see Boogie making progress and having a good time as he gets back to full health.
But if you want to call “travel,” that’s all on you, KD.
OAKLAND — Professional athletes often claim not to read newspapers or listen to sports-talk radio or watch sports debate shows on TV.
Kevin Durant made no such insistence Friday.
He’s aware that the burgeoning narrative around the Warriors has commentators wondering if they’re coping with routine concerns or issues serious enough to derail their quest for a three-peat.
“Those people don’t get basketball, really,” Durant said after practice. “They don’t understand what goes in the facility or with the team. They’ve never been a part of it. It’s just their job. And it’s propaganda. That’s what their bosses are telling them to talk about.
“So they’re going to give their best perspective and opinions, and we’re just going to play the game.”
The Warriors have been under the microscope for three years, but the microscopes have been multiplying since the infamous Nov. 12 squabble between Durant and Draymond Green in Los Angeles. The team is 9-9 since then, though Stephen Curry missed nine of those games and Green missed 13.
And then there are the last four games. The Warriors were blown out at home by the Toronto Raptors, had to generate two comebacks to beat the Kings in Sacramento, handled the weakened Memphis Grizzlies at Oracle Arena, and lost to the Jazz on Wednesday night in Utah.
With a 21-11 record, the Warriors are five games off their pace of last season, six off the pace of 2016-17 and nine games behind their 30-2 record of the 2015-16 campaign.
“We’ve struggled here and there, spurts throughout a game,” Durant said. “It’s just about putting a full 48 together. And I think we’re on our way there.”
Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Saturday at 4 p.m. PT streaming live on the MyTeams app.
Jordan Bell registered three rebounds and one assist in just less than nine minutes of playing time Wednesday night against the Utah Jazz. The Warriors big man missed both of his shot attempts and didn’t score.
When Damian Jones sustained a torn pectoral on Dec. 1 in Detroit, it seemed Bell had an opportunity to see a spike in his minutes and production. But that hasn’t really happened. Over the last eight games, he averaged 3.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists while shooting just 46 percent from the field.
So, how is Bell staying positive through the up-and-down season so far?
“With the paycheck I get twice a month,” Bell told Mark Medina of the Bay Area News Group. “It still sucks. But you have to deal with it. There’s nothing you can do about it. You can (complain) about it and not be ready when your name is called and be in worse position. So you just stay with it.”
Bell burst onto the scene as a rookie and made it look easy at times. Over a 16-game stretch from Nov. 29 to Dec. 30, he averaged 7.6 points, 5.2 rebonds, 2.6 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.1 steals in 19.8 minutes, and shot just below 66 percent from the field.
But a badly sprained ankle Jan. 17 changed the trajectory of Bell’s season, and he didn’t have much of an impact or a consistent role until the NBA Finals. Because of the way Bell played against the Cavs back in June, the expectations for him in Year 2 again were raised.
It’s safe to say he hasn’t met those expectations.
“Definitely helps when you know you’re going to get in instead of being thrown in at random times,” Bell explained to BANG. “But we always preach about staying ready. We watch film to know everybody on the team, whether you’re the guy getting the most minutes or the guy getting the fewest minutes. Your name can be called at any time.”
Back to that paycheck comment — Bell is making $1,378,242 this season. He’ll be a restricted free agent in July, and almost assuredly will receive a raise.
Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller