The Warriors' loss to Denver and Klay Thompson's role in it


The Warriors' loss to Denver and Klay Thompson's role in it

Goodness.So much happened in the Warriors demoralizing 107-101double-overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets at Oracle on Saturday.Where do you even begin? Well, lets just get into one thingright now, the thing that most fans seem to be focusing on: KlayThompson.Its not the two foul shots that Thompson missed late in thefirst overtime -- that could have sealed the game -- that were mostdisappointing about his game. Not to me, anyway.Hey, once in a while you hope its not a trend stufflike that happens. You miss a pair of free throws down the stretch. You canlive with that. More the issue was his shot selection and what was a prettyquick trigger on offense, and apparently not fouling when the Warriors had oneto give at the end of the first overtime.One of his more questionable decisions came in the secondovertime when he took a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:33 left, the Warriorsup four, and 15 seconds remaining on the shot clock.That was a bad shot in any league, though the miss ended upbeing rebounded by Carl Landry. Unfortunately, Landry missed both free throwswith 1:22 left and Denver would go on to knock down consecutive 3-pointers tobasically win the game.STEINMETZ'S INSTANT REPLAY: Warriors can't seal the deal
Thompson went 9-for-26 from the field on Saturday night,including 5-for-15 from 3-point range in a career-high 55 minutes. One issuewas that the two foul shots Thompson missed with 13 seconds left and theWarriors up two points in the first overtime were his only free throws of thegame. Thats pretty much unacceptable from a two-guard in 55 minutes.Thompson has got to start defining his game by more thanjust deep jumpers.Warriors coach Mark Jackson has been stressing for a whilenow that Thompson is a diverse player. Either Jackson is wrong or Thompson hasto start showing it.Forty-six percent of Thompsons shots this year have comefrom beyond the 3-point arc, and his 52 of them lead the league. Hes shooting 36.5percent from 3-point range. Jackson isnt doing Thompson any favors bycontinuing to say his guards are getting great looks and he wants them to keepfiring away from out there.In fairness to Thompson, 26 shots in 55 minutes isn't thategregious. Thats not a crazy number of shots for a two guard playing that manyminutes. More troubling than the shot attempts are the minutes Thompson played.Again, thats Jackson.RELATED: Klay Thompson season stats
Its fair to question why Thompson played such an inordinateamount of minutes and it also seems fair to wonder whether fatigue was a factorfor him late.Having said that, if youre going to give him a break withthe number of attempts, then you have to ask for more than just five reboundsand one assist in that many minutes not to mention bringing to the table anintangible or two.As for not fouling Danilo Gallinari at the end of the firstovertime with the Warriors having one to give, well have to take Jacksonsword for it that the instructions in the huddle to do so wereexplicit.Thompson left without speaking to reporters afterward. Butwhat seems a touch strange was that while Gallinari was handling the ball outat the top for a few seconds, none of the Warriors coaches seemed to beyelling for a foul there. They seemed to be mostly watching the play.Admittedly, that might not have anything to do withanything, but that seemed to be the case.So, yes, go ahead and put most of the blame for this loss onThompson.But lets be honest, Thompson is the least of the GoldenState Warriors concerns right now. Hes not the problem. The way I see it,Thompson is still the biggest asset on the teams roster and remains a playerwith a nice upside.Bad game for Thompson? You bet. But he was just one of manyWarriors players -- and coaches who were responsible for that devastating loss.

Pau Gasol's lofty praise for Warriors: 'In all my years in the league...'

Pau Gasol's lofty praise for Warriors: 'In all my years in the league...'

The Warriors are NBA Finals bound for the third straight year.

Following their Game 4 victory over the Spurs on Monday night, Pau Gasol opened up about the Western Conference champions.

“They’re in a groove,” Gasol told Courtney Cronin of the Bay Area News Group. “They know what it takes to win and obviously they’ve been champions, they’ve established records that have never been set before and they’re on a path to get another championship.

"In all my years in the league, they’re playing at the highest level right now.”

Gasol entered the NBA as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2001 draft.

He won championships with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010.

The Warriors are the first team in NBA history to enter the Finals with a record of 12-0.

Their average margin of victory in the playoffs is 16.3 points.

Agony still present, Kerr uncertain if he can coach Warriors in NBA Finals

Agony still present, Kerr uncertain if he can coach Warriors in NBA Finals

SAN ANTONIO -- Those following the Warriors and their effort to rage through the playoffs should put away those thoughts and hopes that Steve Kerr will return to full-time coaching later this week or sometime before the NBA Finals.

Forget about it, unless you know something he doesn’t.

And if you do, he wants to hear what you have to say.

Don’t get it wrong: Kerr wants to coach, would love to coach. That’s why, even as he feels like hell, he’s hanging around the team like a languid groupie. He wants to be with the Warriors in the heat of battle because they’re his team, within the culture he instilled, and he would like nothing more to get another chance to win The Finals.

But because the procedure he underwent more than two weeks ago at Duke Spine Center did not deliver the relief he’d hoped for, Kerr knows he’s not up to the task and, therefore, continues to operate as sort of a associate head coach to acting head coach Mike Brown.

“Mike is doing great,” Kerr told late Monday night, after the Warriors clinched a third consecutive trip to the NBA Finals with a 129-115 Game 4 win over the Spurs. “He’s such a wonderful human being. He’s so unselfish and team-oriented. I’m proud of him and the job he’s doing, along with the rest of the staff. I wish I could be out there with them. And maybe I will. I don’t know. We’ll see.

“He’s a great partner. And we’re in this together, obviously, but he’s got to make decisions with the staff without me. He’s done a great job of navigating the games. We’re undefeated, so he’s doing something right.”

Kerr can only help from the perimeter. The demands of the job require the coach be able to function at near-peak levels, particularly before and during a game, and he simply can’t. He knows there will be times, all too often, when the discomfort becomes unbearable to such a degree he hardly can think straight.

The agony is visible. The players see it. The staff sees it. Brown sees it, feels it and hears it. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is one of Kerr’s best friends -- as well as a good friend of Brown -- was able to see it during the Western Conference Finals.

“I've spoken with Steve and Mike; we're friends,” Popovich said two hours before Game 4. “We've known each other a long time. But as far as Steve's concerned, it's just a crap situation.

“You know, he's done a phenomenal job. And when you're going through that pain every day and that frustration of not being able to do what you want to do, it's hard to enjoy it at the fullest level. So I feel badly for him all the time but hopeful that stuff will get figured out.”

Nobody wants that more than Kerr, who has tried nearly everything any respectable specialist has recommended. So far, there has been no miracle.

So Kerr forges ahead, getting his Warriors fix by being around the group. By meeting with coaches and players. By meeting with general manager Bob Myers. Kerr was with the Warriors throughout their stay in San Antonio. He was at practices and shootarounds, sometimes on the floor and sometimes sitting in the stands observing from afar.

“I need to be around the guys,” he said. “I don’t want to miss this. Just being in the locker room, being able to talk to the guys means a lot to me. I’m thrilled for them. It’s fun to see how happy they are with three straight trips to The Finals. It’s pretty incredible.”

Kerr has been with the team for at least a few hours every day since May 10, less than a week after his procedure at Duke.

Kerr’s presence has been invaluable, both physically and psychologically, according to staff and players.

“Coach just empowers everybody,” Kevin Durant said. “His message is still the same. Even when he wasn't there in the Utah series, you could still feel his presence. That's what great leaders do.”

Participation, making himself feel useful, is one form of therapy that gives Kerr a semi-satisfying break from the misery.

“He watches film, and he watches the game,” Brown said. “So he gives his perspective from where he is. He gives insight on what we should be doing going forward, what he felt we could have done better, what we did that was good. So he just gives his input, mainly. He addresses the team every once in a while. He doesn't always do that, but he'll address the team from time to time.”

There was some belief that Kerr could return to full-time coaching within a week or so after the procedure, for which he declined to provide details. Warriors CEO Joe Lacob expressed hope Kerr might return “sooner rather than later.” Had it been as successful as Kerr and the doctors hoped, he would have.

That was May 5. Kerr announced he was stepping aside on April 23. As of Wednesday, he was been on leave for a full month.

Asked if he plans to travel during the NBA Finals, Kerr said he hopes so: “It’s like a month away,” he said, exaggerating the nine-day layoff.

He’d rather say with certainty that, yes, he will be accompanying the team because, after all, he’s the head coach.

And he will say that, the moment his body tells him it’s OK to do so.