NBA Gameday: Klay Thompson due for a breakout in Game 4 vs Jazz

NBA Gameday: Klay Thompson due for a breakout in Game 4 vs Jazz

SALT LAKE CITY -- Trying to remain unbeaten this postseason, the Warriors will try to complete a sweep of the Utah Jazz when the teams meet Monday night at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal series.

The Warriors have won the first three games, all by double-digits, an average of 11.7 points. Not until Game 3 did Utah ever take a lead, going up nine in the third quarter, only to have it wiped out by the Warriors down the stretch and lose by 11.

Warriors by 8.5

Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson vs. Gordon Hayward: Any chance the Jazz have of winning a game, much less getting back into the series, almost certainly lies with their All-Star small forward. So far, it has not mattered. With Joe Johnson quiet and George Hill hurting, it’s up to Hayward. Thompson’s offense has been subpar, but his defense has been crucial. As for Durant, well, he’s the riddle the Jazz cannot solve.

Warriors: F Kevon Looney (L hip strain) is listed as out.

Jazz: G George Hill (L big toe sprain) is listed as questionable, G Alec Burks (L knee recovery) is listed as out.

The Warriors finished the regular season with the league’s best record (67-15) and swept Portland in the first round.

The Jazz (51-31) finished with the No. 5 seed and in the first round eliminated the Clippers in seven games.

The Warriors posted wins in Games 1, 2 and 3. The teams met three times in the regular season, with the Warriors winning the first two games: 106-99 on Dec. 8 in Utah and 104-74 on Dec. 20 at Oracle Arena. The Jazz posted a 105-99 victory on April 10 at Oracle. The Warriors have won 16 of the last 18 meetings overall.

THE START: The Warriors would like to recreate the incredible way they opened Game 4 in their first-round series at Portland. Going for the sweep, the never let the Blazers breathe. The goal in Salt Lake City is the same, to immediately crush the spirit of the Jazz, as well as their fans in the building.

KLAY’S OFFENSE: Thompson is averaging 11.7 points per game on 37 percent shooting. He’s due for a breakout. The Warriors have talked about generating ways to get his offense on the move. Look for more screen action, as well as designed plays to get open looks for Thompson.

THE JAZZ FIGHT: In the wake of losing Game 3, coach Quin Snyder and his players seemed on the brink of despair. There were sighs of resignation, and helplessness expressed through their voices and on their faces. Can they summon the will and production to compete?

Casspi defends his spot on Warriors, explains why he's not worried about being cut


Casspi defends his spot on Warriors, explains why he's not worried about being cut

OAKLAND -- Like much of the NBA and everyone with an interest in the Warriors, Omri Casspi has watched the emergence of Quinn Cook, who came out of the G-League and is making a strong bid to make the postseason roster.

Casspi, out since spraining his right ankle last Friday against Sacramento, happens to be at or near the top of the list of the tiny group of players that might be dropped should the Warriors decide to add Cook.

The 6-foot-9 veteran forward has heard the chatter.

“First of all, it’s you guys talking,” Casspi said, referring to media. “I don’t really feel it from the organization. At the end of the day, I’m focused on getting healthy and playing. That’s all I can control.

“I feel like the team needs me and know what I can do for the team. My focus is on getting healthy and playing.”

The Warriors have until April 11 to submit their playoff roster.

Casspi’s roster spot is in danger for three reasons.

One, he has lost confidence in his long-distance shooting, which was influential in the team’s decision to sign him to a one-year minimum contract last July.

Two, his defense has been a glaring weakness, with teams attacking him at every opportunity.

Three, he had fallen out of the rotation when the team was fully healthy and didn’t return until after succession of injuries. Casspi exceeded 10 minutes of playing time in only one of the 12 games before injuries to several teammates became a factor.

Stephen Curry’s ankle woes this season, along with Cook’s impressive play, are making a persuasive argument for adding the third-year point guard.

For now, Casspi is determined to get back on court after missing the last two games.

“With my role on this team, when I’m healthy I want to go out there and play, maybe not 100 percent healthy, but close to it,” he said. “That’s what I’m focused on, on feeling good and running up and down and being able to cut and move and be out there again with the guys.”

As Warriors inch closer to full health, Kerr provides update on Durant, Klay


As Warriors inch closer to full health, Kerr provides update on Durant, Klay

OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson all worked up sweat Wednesday, putting the Warriors ever closer to being whole again.

Only Draymond Green did not full participate in the non-contact practice session, but he’s expected back in a matter of days.

So while the Warriors are a little more than a week away from possibly having the full squad available, they’re starting to feel a little less vulnerable.

“They’re all kind of day-to-day,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Steph is closer to playing than KD and Klay.”

Curry has not played since March 8, when he tweaked his surgically repaired right ankle. He missed the last six games. Durant (rib cartilage injury) and Thompson (right thumb sprain) sustained their injuries on March 11 at Minnesota, though Durant played one more game, March 14, before receiving a diagnosis. Durant missed the last three games, Thompson the last four.

Green sustained a pelvic contusion Monday night at San Antonio, but believes he will be available this weekend, either Friday against Atlanta or Sunday against Utah.

Curry, though, is fully cleared for all activities.

“Steph looks great,” Kerr said. “He’s chomping at the bit. But we’ll see how he responds in the next couple days before we decide whether he plays or not.”

Durant loathes acknowledging pain or injuries, and his return will be dictated by his ability with withstanding the contact inevitable in the course of a game.

“I don’t expect KD to play this week,” Kerr said. “It’s not like a timetable . . . just sort of a feel thing. It’s symptomatic with him.”

Thompson seems, at this point, the furthest away from full activity.

“Klay did some stuff," Kerr said, “but not full participation.”