Jumat, 10 Mei 2013

Klay Thompson adds D to potent O

Klay Thompson doesn t fret much about outside evaluations of his game performances because he knows his most staunch ally is also his toughest critic and he s right at the top of the speed dial.

It s his dad Mychal Thompson a former NBA No. 1 pick who played 12 seasons in the league and contributed to two Los Angeles Lakers title teams in 1987 and 1988. The younger Thompson calls his father after nearly every game for an assessment of his performance and he usually gets a tough love critique.

Naturally the Warriors second year guard couldn t wait to call his dad after a 34 point 14 rebound night Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference semifinals. The Warriors won 100 91 to tie the series at one game apiece. Game 3 is tonight.

He said I should have had 40 that I missed too many easy layups Thompson said with a grin. But that s just the basketball player in him. He also said it was a great performance and that he was very proud of me.

A lot of people are proud of the former Washington State standout in the wake of his remarkable night. He put himself in some pretty fine company statistically. According to the Elias Sports Bureau he joined just three other guards who in the last 25 years scored that many points and hauled in that many rebounds in a playoff game Michael Jordan Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter.

Thompson bristled however when it was suggested by a TV reporter that he d had a poor series against the Denver Nuggets and inquired as to how he adjusted.

I thought I had a few good games in the first round where I shot the ball well he said. I had some off games as well but my defense was always there. I haven t really been focusing on my offense because I ve been trying to be as consistent as possible on the defensive end. That s one area of the game you can control completely.

To be sure it s the plight of many great shooters they don t get much credit for what they do at the other end. Thompson was a defensive stopper against Denver point guard Ty Lawson and so far he s been a huge headache so far for Spurs point guard Tony Parker.

Parker who loves getting in deep to the basket hasn t been able to get much at all against the Warriors lanky 6 foot 7 guard. It s no coincidence that the Spurs Game 1 rally led by Parker didn t really take off until Thompson fouled out with 3 57 to go and Golden State still up by 16.

Generally Thompson said he made the commitment to ratchet up his defensive prowess last summer working four days a week with assistant coach Darren Erman on closeout and shuttle drills and also learning how to maximize his height advantage. It s paying off big time now.

I feel like I m a whole different level defender than I was last year Thompson said. I ve come to like playing defense. It s fun to try and shut someone down. What I learned this year is you can t just put all your stock in shooting. If you play defense and rebound well you can affect other aspects of the game.

Coach Mark Jackson maintains that Thompson was a born shooter but the defensive part required considerable work.

It didn t happen overnight Jackson said. What you re seeing is a product of long hours long days watching film breaking stuff down making mistakes. Klay takes pride in it and he has taken it personal. It s just great to see.


Denver general manager Masai Ujiri was named the NBA s executive of the year on Thursday a day after the Nuggets George Karl was named the league s top coach.

Ujiri the first African born GM in major American sports built the Nuggets team that won an NBA franchise record 57 games.

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