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BASKETBALL/Cousins' game-winning shot in OT lifts Leopards past Aquas to final

05/11/2024 09:35 PM
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Four-time NBA all-star DeMarcus Cousins plays for the Taoyuan Beer Leopards in this CNA file photo
Four-time NBA all-star DeMarcus Cousins plays for the Taoyuan Beer Leopards in this CNA file photo

Taipei, May 11 (CNA) The Taiwan Beer Leopards advanced to the T1 LEAGUE final after outlasting the Kaohsiung Aquas 113-111 in overtime in Kaohsiung on Friday for a series sweep on DeMarcus Cousins' game-winning shot.

Cousins, nicknamed "Boogie," posted 37 points, 18 rebounds, five assists, plus four steals in over 48 minutes on the floor. In his previous nine regular season and playoff games in Taiwan, the four-time NBA all-star's longest outing was Game 1 of the series against the Aquas, when he played nearly 40 minutes.

"It's definitely been a while since I played this many minutes, but like I said earlier, this is the type of competitive game you want to be in, growing up as a kid you dream about being in this type of moment," Boogie said.

DeMarcus Cousins high fives his Taoyuan Beer Leopards teammates in this CNA file photo
DeMarcus Cousins high fives his Taoyuan Beer Leopards teammates in this CNA file photo

"In the moment, you don't really think about the minutes, you don't really want to think about fatigue."

The game was also the first time the American big man scored more than 30 points in the league, and his game-winning shot made with 4.8 seconds left in the game highlighted his monster performance.

The two teams were tied at 111-111 with 10 seconds remaining, Cousins dribbled on the right wing while being defended by Aquas power forward Hu Long-mao (胡瓏貿). After a few crossover dribbles, he feinted to the right and then spun left, as Aquas point guard Shannon Scott closed in on him for a double team.

Cousins tangoed his way to the paint almost losing the ball, but managed to hold onto it, and although nearly losing his balance, pulled up for a shot and saw the ball arc in the air before dropping into the basket.

After the game, Hu complimented his opponent, whom he touted as the "hardest player I've ever played against."

"The last shot, you know [our defense] was almost a foul, but he was still able to make that shot. I think that's the difference between NBA [players] and us," said Hu.

Known for never backing down from foreign players, Hu's toughness has earned him respect from Boogie, who found in the 31-year-old Taiwanese player the same competitor's mindset he shares.

In addition to Cousins, three other Leopards also had double-digit scoring, point guard Chiang Yu-an (蔣淯安) leading the local players with 24 points.

The Leopards will face the winning side between the New Taipei CTBC DEA and Taipei Mars. The Mars have a 2-1 advantage in the series and were scheduled to host the DEA in Taipei at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

(By Chao Yen-hsiang)

Enditem/AW

Video source: Taoyuan Beer Leopards Youtube
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