Klay Thompson’s play in Game 2 captured Warriors identity

It seemed inevitable that the Golden State Warriors would make adjustments. They won four NBA championships in six Finals for a reason.

It seemed inevitable that Klay Thompson would have a breakout shooting performance. He became the second best shooter in the NBA behind Stephen Curry for a reason.

In Golden State’s 127-100 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday in Game 2 of their second-round playoff series, the Warriors showed how Thompson’s play is often tied to the team’s overall identity. .

Thompson finished with 30 points while shooting prolifically from the field (11 for 18) and 3 points (8 for 11). It marked a marked improvement over Thompson’s efforts in Game 1. Then he had 25 points on 9-for-25 shooting, including 1-for-8 in the third quarter. It also represented a better game than Thompson’s Game 7 performance against Sacramento. Then he scored 16 points while shooting just 4-for-19 from the field and 2-for-10 from deep.

But it didn’t just capture Thompson having a rebounding game. He also summarized how the Warriors made various adjustments that ensured such a shooting performance in the first place.

Klay Thompson spins a reflection on Warriors

It’s because how Klay Thompson Shootings often reflect how well or badly the rest of the crew is performing. Considering Thompson primarily thrives on catching and shooting opportunities, his play also indicates whether the Warriors executed a fluid offense based on powerful ball movement. Because their offense works best when playing in pace and at a steady pace, the Warriors’ execution also depends on defensive stops and glass control.

Well, the Warriors tied the series at 1-1 in outlining the perfect pattern to replicate for Game 3 in Los Angeles on Saturday (8:30 p.m. ET, ABC).

After becoming ineffective due to early fouls in Game 1, Warriors forward Draymond Green played with balanced discipline and aggression as the main defenseman for Lakers forward Anthony Davis. He bears more responsibility for how he performed in Game 2 (11 points on 5-for-11 shooting, seven rebounds and four turnovers) than how he fared in Game 1 (30 points on 11 of 19 shooting, 23 rebounds). Yet Green also helped make life more difficult for the Lakers co-star. After the Lakers led with a score in the paint in Game 1 (54), the Warriors reduced that number in Game 2 (42). After the Lakers were mostly effective on the boards in Game 1 (53-49), the Warriors dominated the glass in Game 2 (55-40).

Those two developments didn’t necessarily lead to the Warriors significantly improving their quick break points in Game 2 (17 points) compared to Game 1 (14). These factors, however, helped Golden State play at a faster pace. This set Klay Thompson up for more open looks. Thompson cashed in an open 3 in transition after Curry passed out from a double team. Thompson was given a bye to an open layup. And Thompson landed a pull jump on transitioning Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell.

The Warriors offense also flowed more smoothly, even without the need for defensive stops. In Game 2, Curry reduced his workload with both his scoring (20 points on 12 shots; 3 for 5 of 3) and minutes (30) compared to his Game 1 outing (27 points on 10 for 24 shooting, six for 13 from deep in 38 minutes). But that coincided with Curry taking on a bigger point guard role in Game 2 (12 assists) compared to Game 1 (six assists).

Warriors coach Steve Kerr also launched rarely used striker JaMychal Green in place of Kevon Looney, who had a reduced bench role due to an unspecified illness. But Kerr also decided to have a smaller roster both to improve attacking spacing and to prevent Looney from getting into early foul trouble.

Those two wrinkles didn’t just help JaMychal Green (15 points), Draymond Green (11), Andrew Wiggins (11) and Moses Moody (10) score in double figures. It also ensured crisper ball movement which led to Thompson receiving more open shots. With the improved spacing, Thompson also had more room to operate off the ball. On one play, Thompson curled up the key for an open 3 after Draymond Green placed an effective screen down. On another play, Thompson ran for a quick catch-and-shoot after Donte DiVincenzo found it open in the pocket.

Klay Thompson’s defense key for Warriors

Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

In fairness to Klay Thompson, he has historically and recently performed well even on set nights. Despite Thompson’s poor shot in Game 7 against Sacramento, the Warriors coaching staff praised him for his defense. Aside from his third quarter numbers against the Lakers in Game 1, Thompson still went 7 for 14 in the first half. And for all the praise Thompson deserves for his solid shot in Game 2, he also played a key role in Lakers guard Austin Reaves shooting just 3 for 11 from the field.

Nevertheless, Thompson’s prolific shot-stopping became notable for the global implications

Klay Thompson has dreamed of competing against the hometown Lakers in a playoff series since the Warriors drafted him in 2011. Klay’s dad (Mychal) will be in the broadcast booth as usual for the third game in Los Angeles. Just like the friends of Santa Margarita Catholic High School. It seems likely that Thompson will write a series of storybooks.

More importantly, the Warriors identity returned with an attack centered on the movement of the ball and a defense centered on the defense. While the Warriors can always lean on Curry to carry the team through critical situations, they know the concept of strength in numbers seems more enduring. That’s partly because these ingredients help Thompson become the best version of himself.

Mark Medina is an NBA Insider with Sportsnaut. Follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.

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