Warriors

Klay Thompson believes Warriors win NBA Finals if he doesn't tear ACL

Klay Thompson believes Warriors win NBA Finals if he doesn't tear ACL

The play forever will go down in NBA history. Klay Thompson clutching his knee in agony on the Oracle Arena floor in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals is a sight Warriors fans wish they could erase. 

But it also brings up one of the biggest what-ifs ever in basketball. What if Thompson cleanly finished his dunk attempt with 2:22 left in the third quarter against the Raptors and never tore his ACL? 

For Thompson, the answer to that scenario is an easy one. 

“In my mind, yes, we would’ve won if I didn’t get hurt,” Thompson told The Athletic's Marcus Thompson. “But that’s just the nature of sports, you know? What-ifs? It doesn’t matter. It’s if you do your deed or not. In my mind, I think we would’ve. But you never know. That’s the hard part you’ve got to accept." 

Klay was at his best when he went down. He scored 30 points in 32 minutes in Game 6, and that was just the continuation of a fantastic series against Toronto. Thompson averaged 26 points in five games while shooting a ridiculous 59.4 percent from 3-point range. Catching fire isn't anything new for the five-time All-Star, but this might have been the best version of Thomson anyone has seen. 

He also knows the reality of injuries. While Thompson has been extremely durable for the Dubs over his eight-year career, he has seen stars go down in the past against Golden State on the biggest stage. 

Rehabbing from his own injury now gives him a much different perspective. 

"I look at all the guys who had bad luck getting injured against us the last few years, and I’ve honestly become so much more sympathetic," Thompson. "Yeah. That’s just the nature of the beast.”

[RELATED: Klay should sit out two years, one top knee doctor says]

Despite Kevin Durant leaving in free agency and the Warriors dealing with a whole new roster, Thompson believes the team's dynasty is far from over. But this dynasty, and the future of the NBA, could have looked a lot different with a healthy Klay Thompson in the rest of Game 6 and beyond. 

What-ifs have happened before and they will happen again. For Warriors fans, however, this one will sting for a lifetime.

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 112-94 loss to red-hot Kings

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Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 112-94 loss to red-hot Kings

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Warriors-Kings matchup has provided some fun in recent years. The fun was entirely one-sided Tuesday in Sacramento's 112-94 drubbing of Golden State. 

It was the Warriors' seven straight loss and their third consecutive to the Kings this season. Sacramento (24-33) can sweep a series with Golden State (12-46) for the first time since 2003 with a win on April 15. Kings guard De'Aaron Fox scored 21 points and dished out five assists as Sacramento won its third straight game. 

Here are three takeaways from another dejected Warriors performance in a season full of lows. 

Sloppy play dooms first half

The easiest way to catch Steve Kerr's ire is to turn the ball over, and the Warriors did just that Monday. They committed nine of their game-high 17 turnovers in the first half, allowing the Kings to hold a 12-point lead at halftime. 

The Warriors have turned the ball over a lot against the Kings this season. Golden State committed 20 turnovers against Sacramento the last time these two played in San Francisco, and the two teams combined for 57 in an unwatchable affair that night.

While their ballhandling improved in the second half, the Warriors' lack of talent all but sealed another loss. On most nights, Golden State won't be the best team on the floor. The Dubs have to limit mistakes enough to give themselves a chance. 

Warriors can't shoot

The Warriors became one of the best-ever shooting teams during their dynastic run. Golden State demoralized teams with a 3-point attack led by Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Tuesday showed just how far the mighty have fallen. 

Thompson and Curry are sidelined, and the Warriors shot 4-for-28 (14 percent) from beyond the arc Tuesday. Even worse? The ways the Warriors missed. Marquese Chriss and rookie Juan Toscano-Anderson traded airballs in the first half, as the Warriors shot just 5.9 percent from 3-point range in the first two quarters.

The Warriors' 3-point struggles are understandable. Only one Golden State player who dressed Tuesday -- Damion Lee -- shot better than 35 percent from beyond the arc entering the night. As long as Curry and Thompson are out, the Warriors' 3-point shooting will continue to decline. 

[RELATED: Kerr says 'hope' is Steph can return to Dubs on March 1]

Chriss shines 

The last time Chriss faced his hometown team, he played knowing he'd be cut by the end of the evening to make room for Lee's multi-year contract. Chriss showed how indispensable he is to the Warriors right now Tuesday, finishing with 21 points and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes. 

Chriss showed his potential in the first half, jamming an alley-oop pass from Dragan Bender over Kings big man Harry Giles. By the end of the half, he scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds. 

The 22-year-old has played well since signing a multi-year deal last month. Chriss has averaged 18.4 points and 9.0 rebounds over his last five games. If he continues his current pace, he'll be an intriguing piece when the Warriors are healthy next season.

Watch Steph Curry mesmerize adorable baby Warriors fan with high five

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Watch Steph Curry mesmerize adorable baby Warriors fan with high five

Warriors fans intently watch Steph Curry during his pre-game shooting routine, especially now that the injured star is so close to returning to Golden State's lineup.

None, however, stared as intently at Curry on Tuesday at Chase Center as this adorable baby with primo floor access. 

Curry was kind enough to give the tiny fan one high five, but he completely left them hanging for a second! Steve Kerr said Saturday that news of Curry's participation in a scrimmage prompted a standing ovation from his teammates, but that was before the two-time MVP left a baby hanging. 

That probably won't diminish any excitement in Golden State's locker room, though, especially after Curry did Curry Things before the Warriors' game against the Kings on Tuesday. 

[RELATED: Klay shares moving tribute to Kobe after attending memorial]

Curry has not played since breaking his left hand on Oct. 30. Four months and two surgeries later, Kerr said "the hope" is that Curry returns to the Warriors' lineup Sunday against the Washington Wizards. 

The 31-year-old's hand will be re-evaluated Saturday, and he'll play if all goes well. Whether or not he's cleared, the Warriors at least know that his hand is capable of making a young fan's day.