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Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins was all smiles at the end of Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday, and he shared his sheer joy over the 109-104 victory with Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram by handing him his jersey.
The moment was captured in a video that shows Cousins taking off his sweaty jersey and giving it to Ingram, along with a handshake and a pat on the back. The clip shared on the official Warriors Twitter account has more than 6,000 likes. Both Ingram and Cousins were star players on their respective New Orleans teams before joining new franchises over the last year.
The jersey holds special value as this was a huge game for Cousins who spent much of the season rehabbing a torn Achilles and then, after coming back from that, tearing his quadriceps in the first round playoff series with the Clippers.
Coach Steve Kerr put Cousins in for eight minutes in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, and then into the starting lineup for Game 2. His start was slow, and he committed two fouls early on. But in the end, Cousins caught his stride and played a key role in securing the win with 11 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
“It feels great,” Cousins told ESPN. “I’ve leaned on my teammates throughout this moment and throughout this whole process, and this was an incredible moment for me. But I’m not satisfied, and I’m looking forward to Game 3.”
After tearing his Achilles while playing with the New Orleans Pelicans in 2018, Cousins didn’t receive a contract from any other teams until the Warriors offered him a one-year deal, reportedly for $5.3 million. He played his first game with the Warriors in January after being off the court for a year. Then in April came the torn left quadricep in Game 2 of opening playoff series against the Clippers series.
Many had given up hope, but not his teammates. “He was special,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry told ESPN. “Obviously you get more comfortable, more minutes and playing aggressive when he’s out there, puts a lot of pressure on their defense. And even on our defensive end, making his presence felt blocking shots, being in the right place at the right time. It’s a big lift for us.”
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Boogie-Cousins-jersey-Mark-Ingram-Finals-Game-2-13918830.php.