After putting up his best numbers in several years Saturday night, DeMarcus Cousins admitted there were times when he wasn’t sure he would ever play again, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Cousins, who has suffered three major injuries in the past four years, had 28 points, 17 rebounds and five assists as the short-handed Rockets won in Dallas.
“It’s just proof that the work is working,” he said. “The work, the time, the effort, those days I didn’t want to get up and do it, the days I thought I was wasting my time, the dog days I thought it was over for me — all of those thoughts at some point flashed in my mind. I would be lying if I didn’t have those moments, but just continue to believe in myself.”
Cousins didn’t play at all last season because of a torn ACL and was limited to 30 games with the Warriors in 2018/19 after tearing his quadriceps. He came to Houston on a non-guaranteed veteran’s minimum contract, but hasn’t looked like a former All-Star, shooting just 26.3% from the field before last night.
“I told him it’s a process,” said Rockets guard John Wall. “I mean, I know it’s difficult from being that franchise guy and always being the guy that was dominant and having the game the way you want it to be, and now he has to accept the role of coming off the bench.”
There’s more from Houston:
- Wall returned ahead of schedule Saturday after missing five games with soreness in his left knee, notes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Coming off a two-year absence, the veteran guard doesn’t want to get the reputation of being susceptible to injuries. “It was frustrating because I deal with so much, people say, ‘He’s injury prone,’” Wall said. “I got kneed. You have inflammation, you can’t control that. There was nothing I can do.”
- The Rockets plan to be cautious with Kevin Porter Jr., who was acquired Friday in a trade with the Cavaliers, MacMahon tweets. Porter’s talent is obvious, but he fell out of favor in Cleveland because of off-the-court issues. “I wouldn’t anticipate him playing in an NBA game relatively soon,” coach Stephen Silas said. Houston added Porter with the $1.62MM trade exception it created last February by sending Gerald Green to Denver, confirms Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).
- The Rockets placed heavy protections on the 2024 second-round pick they sent to the Cavaliers in the deal, but it was originally unprotected when they acquired it from Golden State, Marks tweets. Cleveland will only receive the pick if it falls in the 56-to-60 range. Otherwise it’ll remain with Houston.