Warriors not concerned about Klay: 'Defensively he was a monster'

Warriors not concerned about Klay: 'Defensively he was a monster'

OAKLAND -- Even as the Warriors remain undefeated this postseason, there are whispered concerns among observers, largely associated with All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson.

What’s wrong with Klay? Is he hurt? Is he slumping? Is his offense getting lost behind Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant?

Though Thompson is averaging 15.0 points on 38.8-percent shooting, 36.0 percent beyond the arc, the Warriors are revealing only mild indications of worry.

Rather, they look at Thompson’s subpar offensive numbers during the playoffs and shrug -- and point to his stellar defense during the team’s 9-0 run thus far, with a 113-111 comeback win Sunday over San Antonio in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals as the latest exhibition.

“His stat line, offensively, wasn’t what most people expect, nor was it what he expected,” acting coach Mike Brown says. “When you go back and you watch that tape, defensively he was a monster. He was not good; he was really good for us defensively.”

Though Thompson managed only six points on 2-of-11 shooting in Game 1, he nabbed three steals and blocked two shots.

On the whole, Thompson was far better than his primary defensive assignment, Spurs point guard Patty Mills. Mills played 37 minutes, scoring 5 points on 1-of-8 shooting, including 0-of-6 from deep.

Coming off the bench replacing future Hall of Fame point guard Tony Parker in the starting lineup, Mills was averaging 11.2 points on 46.6-percent shooting through the first 12 games of the postseason.

“You don’t stop anybody in the NBA, but one of the keys to their team is Patty Mills,” Brown says. “He guarded Patty Mills most of the night. They’re like 40-4 when Patty Mill scores more than 10 points.”

Brown’s statistical recollection was off -- the Spurs in the regular season were 36-2 when Mills scores at least 10 points -- but his point was valid. If Mills gets going, good things tend to happen for San Antonio.

Thompson’s defensive task is to ensure Mills doesn’t break down offenses the way Parker once did. He succeeded in that regard.

“One of the things that happened was . . . Klay was locked in on his defensive assignment,” Brown says. “He did about as good a job as we could have asked him to.

“The shooting part is going to come. We’re not worried about that. But the other stuff that he brought to the table was very exciting for us.”

Thompson averaged 18.3 points against Portland in the first round and 14.0 points against Utah in the conference semifinals. Only in one of the nine games this postseason has he shot better than 50 percent from the field.

Given Thompson’s history, a breakout game can happen anytime, maybe as soon as Game 2 on Tuesday.

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.”