Reader’s Note: Beginning January 29, WarriorsWorld is spending two weeks examining the play of Klay Thompson. We first performed this exercise with David Lee. In his second NBA season, Thompson has been the Warriors’ most inconsistent player. You can argue that he hasn’t improved much from his rookie year and has made some of the most boneheaded plays this side of JaVale McGee. But when his shot is falling, it’s a thing of beauty. We are providing an unbiased look by watching Klay Thompson, and only Klay Thompson, on both ends of the floor for a stretch of games ending at the All-Star break. This fifth installment covers the game at Memphis on February 8.
Previous Klay Watch Games
By: Jesse Taylor
Warriors 93, Grizzlies 99
This was one of those JaVale McGee nights for Klay Thompson. Saying he hurt the Warriors more than he helped them is an understatement.
Unfortunately he celebrated his 23rd birthday with a turnover party that didn’t include any apples.
Six turnovers, one assist, two rebounds and nine points on 4-14 shooting is not a very good night.
His first turnover comes one minute into the game, as his bad pass leads to Tony Allen’s sixth points of the of the game on a layup.
Klay is quiet for the next several minutes until he gets a pass from David Lee off a defensive rebound. Mike Conley runs up on Klay and gets in his face. Klay reacts badly, trying to move out of his way, but moves his pivot foot in the process and commits a traveling violation while swinging around Conley without dribbling.
Then he doesn’t block out Allen off a missed shot and the Grizz get the ball back.
No shots, two turnovers and a missed block out. Mark Jackson has had enough. Klay sits early as Richard Jefferson subs in for him at the 6:50 mark of the first.
Klay doesn’t return until the start of the second with the Warriors trailing 24-32.
After missing his first shot of the game, a jumper, he makes a nice play on defense to grab a cross-court pass. He dribbles down the floor, then stops and pops for a jumper above the free throw line.
It seems like the Warriors forgot it was Klay’s birthday. He’s not very involved in the offense in the first half. We know what happens when Klay doesn’t get many shots. He forces a shot on Conley and Conley strips him of the ball as he goes up to shoot. It would have been a bad shot anyway. After the play, Klay gets himself in bad defensive position on Conley and commits a foul.
His turnovers and lack of involvement seem to be affecting his shot. He misses a 3-point jumper off a screen from Andrew Bogut with the Warriors down nine.
Turnover #3 comes off a give-and-go with Bogut where Bogut gives, Klay goes and takes the pass. But then he tries to give back, but it’s an underwear and sock level type of bad gift. He inexplicably goes behind his back on the pass to Bogut and Conley is right there for the steal. Awful, awful pass. Conley gets it to Jerryd Bayless in transition who hits a wide open three. 35-49. 6:31 left in the half.
That’s three turnovers in less than 12 minutes for Klay.
After another missed jumper, he gets stuck guarding Zach Randolph down low, but actually plays him pretty strong. He pushes back when Randolph gets the ball, and Randolph settles for a missed turnaround jump hook with 2:08 left in the half.
Klay goes into halftime shooting 1-5 with just two points as the Warriors trail 56-63.
While four of the Warriors start the third quarter very well, one of them doesn’t. After the Warriors cut it to three at 60-63, Klay’s first touch results in his fourth turnover as he gets the ball in the lane and can’t grab it initially. When he does grab it, he forces an ugly quick toss to Harrison Barnes that goes way, way wide and out of bounds.
“Wow.” That’s what my notes read after the next offensive trip down. Klay drives baseline, stops, turns and whips it right to … Randolph. Turnover #5. That one was extremely bad.
Without these turnovers, the Warriors could have done more damage. They are playing great defense and have cut the lead to 62-63 in two minutes of play.
Klay finally wakes up. Off a nice Curry drive-and-kick pass, Klay hits an open three to tie the game at 65. He now how equal points and turnovers at 5 apiece.
Did someone slip Klay some smelling salts? He plays strong defense on Conley on the next possession and forces an ugly missed jump-shot as the 24-second shot clock expires. Conley kept zig-zagging around the court, but Klay was on him every step of the way.
Up 67-65, Klay misses an open three from left wing in transition that would have been big.
The Grizz tie it at 67 with 6:15 left in the third when Klay rotates back to his man Conley too late. Conley takes the pass and drives in, forcing Bogut to help out. Conley then hits Bogut’s man Randolph for an open layup.
Klay makes up for it on a 2-on-1 Grizz fast break. Conley passes it to Bayless at the rim and Klay rips it away with his long wingspan.
He comes back on offense and hits a silky smooth 17-footer curling off a screen. 71-69 lead. 4:04 to go in the third.
But then Klay loses Bayless on a back door cut. Marc Gasol finds him for the easy layup.
Klay misses the exact same shot curling off a screen on the next possession. This time Gasol got a hand in Klay’s face and he missed it way short off the front of the rim.
Klay sits with 3:17 left in third. Warriors down 71-72. He checks back in with 10:10 left in game and the Warriors still down one, 78-79.
Down three, Klay misses a corner three off a tough catch from a bad pass. He probably shouldn’t have shot it. Conley was in his face, too.
The TV broadcast didn’t show it, but Klay commits turnover #6 on a backcourt violation. The ball was in the frontcourt and he caught it, and then went backcourt. Grizz then score for a 5-point lead. 78-83.
After a Curry made three, Klay plays pressure D on the inbounds play. He goes above Bayless to steal then ball. He swings it to Curry who hits another three. 86-83 Warriors lead. 8:10 left.
Next, he plays great 1-on-1 defense on Bayless and blocks his jump shot.
The Grizz go on a 9-0 run without Klay being a factor on either end. No shots and no players scored on him.
He ends the run with a nice jumper off a big screen by Bogut on Conley. The screen left Klay open just inside the 3-point line. 88-92.
Down six, he forces an awful shot with Conley on him. Conley gets his hand on the ball and Klay still forces it up for an air ball. 2:40 left and the Grizz go down and score to take an 8-point lead.
In a critical moment, Curry takes an awful 3-point shot with two guys in his face that was worse than anything Klay had done all night. Gasol comes back and hits a deep jumper for a 98-90 lead with 33.5 seconds left.
Trying to cut it to three, Klay misses a tough jumper. Not a bad shot. Good defense by Bayless. That does it. 93-99 final.
Tallying Klay’s good plays versus bad plays, we end up with the bad winning easily: 12-7. Made shots only count as “good” plays if they were big-moment shots or tough to hit. Missed shots only count as “bad” if they were forced shots.
- Steal that leads to a made jumper
- Good defense on Randolph forces a miss
- 3-pointer ties it at 65
- Strong defense on Conley through shot clock miss
- Defensive block on 2-on-1 break
- Steal over Bayless off inbounds play
- Great defensive block on Bayless
- Turnover 1
- Turnover 2
- Non-block out of Allen
- Forced shot on Conley 1
- Turnover 3 leads to 3-pointer by Bayless
- Turnover 4
- Turnover 5
- Late rotation on Conley leads to Randolph layup
- Loses Bayless on back door cut for layup
- Forced corner 3-pointer
- Turnover 6
- Forced shot on Conley 2
Turnovers #3 and #5 should actually have counted as two because they were so bad.