Klay Thompson responds to Warriors’ team meeting with patience and efficiency

SAN FRANCISCO — The Warriors held a candid team meeting after shootaround Friday morning. Draymond Green, as Klay Thompson tells it, “held the ground” for a good portion. JaMychal Green stated the team “addressed the elephants within the room.”

Elephants — plural — as a result of the Warriors have points — plural. In the 6-9 begin, they’d delivered a half-hearted team-wide defensive effort and had some grumbling about shifting, minimized roles. But the room’s largest elephant after Wednesday’s lifeless loss in Phoenix was Thompson’s thirsty shot choice, hijacking the offense in an try to detonate himself out of a deep taking pictures droop. His teammates have been visibly pissed off.

“I watched a whole lot of motion pictures,” Thompson stated. “And, uhh, you understand, typically … yeah. I imply, me and Draymond had an awesome dialog this morning. He advised me to be affected person and belief the team. I assumed I exemplified that tonight.”

The Warriors beat the Knicks 111-101. They have been juiced up defensively, holding New York to 19 first-quarter factors. They had seven extra rebounds. They obtained satisfactory bench manufacturing. The whole operation hummed with extra exuberance.

But all eyes have been on Thompson. The Warriors publicly and privately known as him out subliminally and straight within the 48 hours between video games. How would the proud and cussed all-time shooter deal with it? Would he tame his strategy or chuck his means via the noise?

The Warriors bought their reply within the opening minutes. Thompson got here off a pindown display screen on the correct wing and was delivered a cross from Draymond Green. Thompson had already hit a few jumpers, which generally motivates him to hold firing any semi-decent look he can discover. But Thompson did not shoot this one. He sensed the 2 defenders round him and dropped it off to the reducing Kevon Looney, who earned two free throws.

Rewatch the possession. Keep your eye on the bench after the foul. Donte DiVincenzo and Andre Iguodala each level out at Thompson, acknowledging the sacrificial cross and second of progress, a topic they’d hammered as a team within the morning meeting.

“Semi-open look, and he moved it on,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr stated. “That’s how the sport is meant to look. Klay is such an awesome shooter that he is continually drawing closeouts and two individuals are working out on him, so if he simply strikes it, we robotically have a bonus.”

What did Thompson see when he turned on the Phoenix movie?

“Got nice appears early however may’ve rushed just a few as a substitute of swinging the ball and getting a very easy one,” he stated. “Not reducing with sufficient pressure. I assumed tonight I did that. When you make the simple ones early, the onerous ones go in later.”

Thompson’s aggressive nature can by no means be suppressed. The second he turns into a hesitant 3-point shooter is the second he turns into unplayable. He cannot lose his biggest ability. But there’s nuance to the strategy. Sometimes it is higher to function a decoy. Sometimes it is higher to transfer the ball to a warmer shooter. Sometimes it is higher to anticipate a recreation to develop as a substitute of looking one thing that is not there.

Kerr was requested earlier than the sport which sort of photographs he needs Thompson to take.

“Just open ones,” Kerr stated. “I feel our historical past right here has been a ball-movement team. We are both No. 1 in assists or shut to it yearly. When the ball strikes, we have a tendency to play higher offensively, and Klay is the beneficiary of that usually. I feel he wants to search for less complicated actions. If he is bought the ball and there may be nothing there, simply transfer it on. The ball goes to discover its means again to him, and he’ll get higher photographs. That’s the method that can unfold right here within the subsequent couple of weeks.”

It took three hours for Kerr’s prediction to materialize in probably the most pivotal of Friday night time’s moments. Thompson had delivered a affected person recreation and, in flip, had delivered the next variety of environment friendly appears. He made eight of his 16 photographs, the primary recreation all season he made a minimum of 50 %.

“Just felt unimaginable to have an environment friendly night time from the sector,” Thompson stated.

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The Knicks entered on just a little streak. They beat the Nuggets and Jazz to open this highway journey. The Warriors jumped forward of them early, however they minimize it to 10 with beneath 5 minutes left. The Warriors nonetheless wanted to end.

On the possession that felt just like the dagger, Thompson introduced the ball up the court docket. Instead of attacking, he tossed it over to Draymond Green on the prime of the important thing and stood on the left wing, spacing the ground.

The play materialized in a means most of the finest Warriors’ possessions do. Draymond Green set a excessive display screen for Curry and the protection began scrambling. Curry’s dropoff to Draymond led to a ping into the nook, the place JaMychal Green stood. Jalen Brunson, in a questionable transfer, left Thompson on the wing and ran to JaMychal Green within the nook.

That led to a straightforward swing over to an open Thompson, who took the kind of catch-and-shoot jumper the Warriors all the time needed to create for him. The recreation had rewarded his patience.

How did this particular possession really feel for Thompson?

“That felt superior,” he stated. “Especially whenever you swish the ball. That’s the most effective feeling as a shooter is tickling the twine like that.”

It’s too early to declare the Warriors’ points solved. All they did was win a house recreation towards a median team. They’re 7-1 at dwelling this season with a plus-82 level differential and 0-8 on the highway with a minus-85 level differential. So the final word judgment will come away from Chase Center. They are in Houston and New Orleans on Sunday and Monday as they fight to construct on this momentum.

But the Friday meeting is a touch at a doable turning level, and Thompson’s continuing strategy was the primary signal of accountability turning into motion.

“Very constructive meeting,” Thompson stated. “Draymond positively held the ground. He’s such an awesome motivator. We all responded effectively. It may be very helpful. We thought that this morning was an unimaginable time of progress for our entire team.”

“We addressed a whole lot of issues that wanted to be addressed, and I feel we’re beginning to get it collectively,” JaMychal Green stated. “We had that onerous dialog that lots of people don’t need to have, however we had that dialog, and it was a lot wanted. I feel it bought folks extra targeted and locked in to what we now have to do as a team.”

Here is Thompson making a paper airplane whereas discussing all of it.


Here is the transfer of the night time.

(Photo of Klay Thompson taking pictures a 3-pointer over Jalen Brunson through the third quarter Friday: Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)

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