Long before game time, Durant and Kendrick Perkins were among those spreading the word about Cook's defense.
“A lot of people don't know that about him since he's a great shooter, but he's an underrated defender,” Durant said. “He does a great job on help defense and one-on-one defense. He means a lot to this team.”
Perkins: “One thing that D Cook will bring is he spaces the court. You don't have to worry about the paint being too crowded. Also, he's an underrated defender and he's an underrated rebounder. No question we miss Thabo, but with D Cook, we're excited to have him in the starting lineup.”
Brooks admitted sometimes it takes a second glance to fully appreciate Cook's defense.
“Those are the little things that he does well, sometimes I'll overlook it until I see game film the next morning,” Brooks said. “They are very subtle, but there are very necessary for our defense our defense to work. He's not a one-dimensional player.”
Cook said he was surprised his teammates and coaches noticed his defensive subtleties.
“Yeah, a little bit,” Cook said. “It just showed a little more lately. It was just a matter of becoming more and more comfortable and doing the things I was capable of doing. It's not just about me knocking down shots. Teams have to play me honest, and sometimes that can cause a problem for them.
“I know what I have to do on this team other than knock down shots to help this team win.”