OAKLAND, Calif. — Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins took another step in his recovery from a torn Achilles tendon on Friday by dunking on teammate Kevin Durant in a playful one-on-one battle at the end of practice.
The pair, which has had a handful of post-practice duels over the last couple of weeks, ended Friday’s session going back-and-forth while taking entry passes from assistant coach Bruce Fraser.
On the last possession, Cousins took a dribble after receiving the ball and finished with a right-handed dunk over Durant, who had jumped up to try to block it. Cousins proudly exclaimed, “That’s game! That’s game!” before making his way off the floor.
Durant laid on the ground for a few moments with a smile on his face as teammate Quinn Cook came over to check on him. Durant then got up and started taking free throws to finish off his routine.
“He beat me today,” Durant said. “He beat me today, but I live to fight another day.”
The clip of the dunk quickly went viral, and the pair had some fun in the comments section of an NBC Sports Bay Area Instagram post, with Durant saying “travel” and Cousins responding “G A M E !”
Durant and the Warriors are hopeful Cousins will be back in the near future, but the organization has been patient in his recovery process, not setting a target date for a return. Cousins has practiced several times with the G League Santa Cruz Warriors and continues to go through lighter practices with the NBA club, but it remains unclear exactly when he will start playing again.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr has repeatedly stated that the team’s athletic training staff will watch the All-Star’s rehab closely for signs that show he is ready to get back to game action again.
“Everybody likes DeMarcus,” Kerr said after practice. “He’s a fun guy to be around and he’s got a great sense of humor. It’s good for him to play one-on-one with Kevin, or every once in a while he’ll get into a scrimmage with Draymond. Those guys, they do a good job pushing him.”
Warriors players and coaches are curious to see how Cousins fits with the rest of the group on the floor over the next few months, but they believe the emotional center has already fit into the fabric of the team.
“A player like that, we just got to figure it out,” Durant said. “We’re not going to tell him to be somebody that he’s not. I think he’s going to take full advantage of his opportunities. We just got to play around each other.”