Prior to Friday's game between the Warriors and Toronto Raptors, Klay Thompson was on the court at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. working on a version of his jump shot that lacked the actually jumping part.
It was a sight Warriors fans have longed for. Watching one half of the Splash Bros. shoot is therapeutic for Dub Nation, and it sorely missed as Thompson recovers from a second straight season-ending leg injury.
But there was nothing calming about what happened once the Warriors and Raptors started playing. Without Steph Curry and Draymond Green, who were nursing injuries, Golden State got blitzed by Toronto, trailing by as many as 61 points -- yes, sixty-one -- and eventually losing by 53 points, 130-77.
While Curry and Green have addressed their teammates after recent losses, it was Thompson whose voice was heard by a few teammates after the game Friday.
"It's a hard pill for them to swallow," veteran guard Kent Bazemore told reporters on a video conference call after the game. "You're talking about [them] ... and Klay. Klay was back there as well. These guys have five straight Finals appearances. This is, by any means, not acceptable by them at all. This hurts them more than anything. Klay was fired up after the game. This has been the toughest two years watching his guys out there and not being able to help, so I think it's lit a fire under him and Steph and Draymond, they know how important they are to us."
Bazemore, who had three points, three rebounds and one assist in 15 minutes, offered more on what Thompson was saying.
"He was just going on about how he misses the game and it's just not acceptable to lose this way," Bazemore said. "He's just fired up. He's fired up, man. It's hard watching, regardless if you're playing or not playing, just sitting over there. As a competitor, you want to be out there. ... It's hard to explain."
Rookie Nico Mannion is getting his first taste of the NBA, and there have been some bitter sips. While Thompson's words weren't directed at the second-round draft pick, Mannion was able to offer some more context.
"I don't know if I was around when Klay said anything, so I really don't know what that message was," Mannion told reporters. "I heard it from the [hallway] a little bit, just talking about we've got to have a little more heart, which I 100 percent agree with."
At 23-26, the Warriors are in danger of missing the playoffs for the second straight season. They still have a chance to qualify for the Western Conference play-in tournament, but even that's looking like it might not happen with the way they are playing.
All Thompson can do is watch. He's making progress in his rehab from a torn right Achilles, but he won't be able to help the Warriors on the court this season.
It's up to Curry, Green, Bazemore, Mannion and the rest of the available Warriors to figure things out and get the ship turned in the right direction.
If Thompson has to speak up again before the end of the season, that's a sign the Warriors haven't gotten back on track.