LA Clippers: No Ivica Zubac, no problem in Game 5 win

DeMarcus Cousins, LA Clippers. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
DeMarcus Cousins, LA Clippers. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Clippers were already down their best player in Kawhi Leonard for a seventh straight playoff game, but before the game were also hit with the news that center Ivica Zubac wasn’t going to be playing in the contest either.

The Clippers have been swamped by injuries all season, and were now looking at an even more shorthanded roster in a do-or-die situation heading into Game 5.

Zubac‘s sprained MCL was a big problem, but the moment wasn’t too big for DeMarcus Cousins to step up and fill the shoes left by the injured Zubac.

DeMarcus Cousins was a huge contributor to the LA Clippers’ commanding Game 5 win.

DeMarcus Cousins had played a total of 17 minutes and 14 seconds for the LA Clippers in this series prior to Game 5.

He’s an older player, and realistically wasn’t going to get a ton of run in this game even with no Zubac. That being said, he was going to get a chance to make an impact, and he didn’t disappoint.

In 11 minutes of play, Cousins was 7 for 12 for 15 points.

Cousins has played in 14 playoff games in his career, and last night, like Paul George, he had his career-high.

Drawing double-teams is huge for a team like the Clippers, who will nail open threes consistently if they have any sort of space. His Clipper teammates may not have had the best shooting night, but his teammates’ 35.7% shooting percentage from three was better than the Suns’ 34.6%. Those double-teams opened up opportunities for shooters outside.

Boogie Cousins also had a steal on defense, and finished tied for second on the Clips in assists with three.

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Cousins isn’t a guy who can count on consistent minutes in the postseason, but he just proved that even if he barely gets double-digit minutes, he can give his team double-digit points. Somebody needed to step up with both the top two Clipper centers out, and Cousins got the job done.