OAKLAND -- Crisis One has been averted – the Godlen State Warriors remembered how to run their offense. And now we can move on to Crisis Two –Klay Thompson’s mild ankle sprain.
Of course this is not a crisis. Nothing save significant injury is a crisis around here – nothing except when the Warriors don’t win by 25 and people start wondering if they’re bored again.
Monday’s 123-103 victory over the too-young-but-getting-older-and-wiser Phoenix Suns was a predictable night’s work, easy enough that only Stephen Curry had to play as many as 30 minutes. Nothing reorients the Warriors’ self-worth quite like a loss, and having been beaten in Denver the night before, they were in the mood for a Steve Kerr lecture and some detailed tidying.
So the ball moved better and the cuts were crisper, the defense more aggressive and the passing lanes obstructed more regularly. The most spectacular work was actually done with hustle and application by Damian Jones and Alfonzo McKinnie, and Thompson left midway through the third quarter after only 25 minutes with what was called a “minor” ankle sprain.
Up until now, the Thompson thing was his errant three-point shooting. Klay The Three, by any standard, can be called a streaky shooter. His good streaks last longer than most, but his bad ones are long enough to be noticed. It’s who he has always been, and no matter how many times he goes through these little spells, people worry ... or moan ... or both ... about him.
The only people who don’t ever get concerned are the ones around him most. They know when he goes, and when he comes back.
And in the meantime, he played his usual creditable defense, not only against a usual suspect like Devin Booker, but also a few turns against precocious big man Deandre Ayton and spot-up shooter Ryan Anderson. This, after defending Utah’s Donovan Mitchell to distraction three days earlier – it’s what Thompson is, and what Thompson does.
He is, in short, the Warriors’ mini-ensemble on a team that works best as an ensemble. Monday’s game was the first one in which the Oaklands looked their usual cohesive selves, assisting on 35 of their 45 baskets before Kerr vacated his bench to get the Jacob Evanses and Damien Lees and Jordan Bells some run.
And until he left the game -- uneventfully, to be honest -- he was the least of the Warriors’ fan base worries – well behind their major concerns of the evening, which were how Red Panda would do with her new unicycle (which she’d already tried out before nailing her dishes-to-the-head routine) and how the Suns would do when confronted by a fast-food outlet promotion in which free burgeroids were available in exchange for the Suns missing two free throws.
They cheered loudly. The Suns did not comply.
But now, his little ankle tweak is a conversation piece on a team with too few of them. The Washington Wizards come to town Wednesday, so it will be a conversation point, but a fleeting one.
Friday, after all, the Warriors go to New York to play the Kevin ... err, Knicks. Sorry, but you know what that means.
Klay Thompson won’t be noticed, even if his leg is attached to a shopping trolley.