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 seventh installment covers the game at Dallas on February 9.
Previous Klay Watch Games
By: Jesse Taylor
Warriors 91, Dallas 116
I recently binge-watched the first two seasons of Homeland and wondered how I would respond if I was held captive and tortured for eight years like Marine Nicholas Brody.
While it wasn’t a full eight years, the four games in five nights road trip gave Warriors fans a taste of what Brody went through in Iraq.
Well, it’s finally over. We’ve all left pieces of our previous lives in each stop on the trip. Some Pulmonary in Houston, a piece of the Frontal Lobe in Oklahoma City, my dead grandmother in Memphis (she’s an Elvis fan) and now, I’m pretty sure my soul is staying in Dallas for good.
How was our star of “The Klay Watch” on the trip? After three very strong games to begin “The Watch,” he flattened out in Houston – not good, not bad. Up and down in Oklahoma City. Then he lost his shot and his ability to hold onto the ball in Memphis.
Let’s take a look at Klay in Dallas.
O.J. Mayo and Klay are guarding each other to start the game.
On what’s becoming a “thing” for Klay, he gets back quickly on defense to disrupt a fast break. This time, Mayo is defended well by Klay on a layup attempt and he misses. Klay may have gotten a piece of the ball.
After an ugly 6-turnover performance the previous night in Memphis, Klay’s first turnover happens at 8:07 when he’s doubled high on the wing by Mayo and Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk swipes it from Klay’s hands before Klay can pass and it bounces off his shoulder and out of bounds.
Later, Klay fouls Mayo when he can’t find him off a Dallas offensive rebound. When he does find him, Klay charges at Mayo and Mayo drives by as Klay commits the foul.
After the foul and Dallas inbound play, Steph Curry steals the ball and gives it up to Harrison Barnes on the break. Barnes misses the layup and Klay comes in for the tip, but it doesn’t go in. Barnes grabs the rebound and gets fouled.
The Warriors take it out and Klay curls off a David Lee screen, but Mayo stays with him. Klay forces a 14-foot jumper over Mayo that misses. Warriors remain down 8-9 with 6:40 left in the first.
On the next possession, Klay squares up in the triple-threat position on Mayo. Because Mayo is playing him tight to defend Klay’s outside shot, Klay smartly drives by him and is fouled on the floor in the process. This leads to Lee getting fouled and getting two FTs.
Mayo will quickly learn that there’s no need to foul Klay on the drive.
Klay checks out early again at the 6:06 mark. Kent Bazemore comes in. Mark Jackson has done this the last several games. At first I thought it was due to his frustration with Klay’s play. But now I see it’s just his new substitution pattern. Unless Klay’s on fire shooting-wise, it looks like he’s coming out around the 6-minute mark no matter what.
Klay held Mayo scoreless in his six minutes on the court. But Klay was also scoreless, shooting 0-for-2 with one turnover.
While he’s out, Dallas goes on an 11-0 run. Jackson quickly gets Klay back in at the 3:42 mark of the first. Darren Collison hits a runner on Bazemore and is fouled. The run hits 14.
Klay gets a good look, but rims a 3-pointer in and out. Bazemore finally ends the run with a layup to make it 12-23.
Interesting observation. As Bazemore heaves a shot to end the first, Dahntay Jones pushes Klay in the back as they are both running underneath the basket. Klay doesn’t like it and has some words for Jones. But Jones just smirks and brushes Klay off as if he is no threat at all. An interesting take on the reaction from another player when Klay gets (kind of) pissed off.
Klay ends the quarter 0-3 FG.
He starts the second and helps on Dirk. It looks like Klay gets a piece of the ball, but also his forearm, and the refs whistle Klay. Dirk hits both FTs. 16-32 11:42.
9:50 in the second. Jones blows by Klay on the wing and gets fouled for two FTs. 18-37.
Klay finally scores off a handoff from Curry on the wing. 3-pointer. 9:03 mark of second and Warriors trail 21-40. Klay is 1-4 FG, 1-2 3FG.
Later, Klay plays good defense on Dirk and almost gets a steal, but knocks the ball out of bounds. His good work on defense continues. On the inbounds, Klay gets a hand in Mayo’s face and Mayo misses the three.
Mayo later scores, but it’s on Curry and Lee. This is followed by Klay missing a wide-open three from wing. Well short.
Analysis: the Warriors look awful. Just my opinion as they fall behind 27-54.
Klay switches on Dirk and has to block him out under the basket. He does a nice job being physical with the 7-footer, but in the process grabs his arm and Dirk gets two FTs. 34-58 with 1:53 left in half.
Then Klay misses a contested three after Festus Ezeli saves the ball from going out of bounds. Mayo is doing a nice job of staying up on Klay.
Then Mayo hits a three on Klay where he stepped behind a screen from Brand following a handoff where Klay went behind Brand. 34-61 with 57 seconds left in the half.
The half ends with the score 36-62. After I go throw up in the bathroom to rid my body of the stench of this game, I check the stats. Klay is shooting 1-6 FG, 1-4 3FG. He has a whopping 3 points, two rebounds, zero assists, one turnover and two fouls. On the plus side, his defense has been excellent.
Klay starts the third with a wide-open corner three – good. 6 points.
But then he decides to drive.
Klay driving to the basket reminds me of a drunk dude tripping over his feet on his way to talk to a hot girl at the bar. We all know how this ends and it’s not good.
It always starts well and with good intentions. In this case, Klay looks good as he drives passed Mayo off the dribble. But then, he gets in the lane. And then he chooses to go up with his left hand. And then … well … it doesn’t even come close to going in.
Klay’s entire offseason needs to consist of working on his dribbling and working on finishing at the rim. Along with his customary “sleep well to the gentle sound of threes raining down” work.
Klay’s missed layup leads to Mayo hitting a three on Lee in transition.
With 8:56 left in the third, Klay has a corner three off a skip pass from Curry, but Mayo closes out well. Klay pump fakes Mayo, but in doing so, steps out of bounds. Turnover #2. The Warriors are trailing 43-67.
My 7-year-old son says he did #3 (code for diarrhea) and needs help cleaning up. I quickly volunteer. Anything to get out of watching this mess of a game.
Later, Klay closes out well on Mayo and forces him to drive. His tight defense forces a travel.
Then the defensive fast break assassin strikes again. On a 2-on-1 break with Marion and Mayo, Klay brushes off his shoulder and jams Mayo at the rim, forcing a miss. But Bernard James gets the rebound and forces a foul on Andris Biedrins for two FTs.
On the next possession, Klay gets a Biedrins’ screen and hits a wing jumper. 48-70 with 7:03 left in the third. Klay has 8 points.
Two minutes later, Mayo once again plays Klay tight. Klay makes a nice move to get around Mayo. Collison steps up to help, so Klay pulls up at the FT line, but misses the jumper. On his way up, he mishandled the ball, then corralled it in time to shoot it. Not the best way to take a jumper, but whatever.
Alert. Drunk man approaching hot girl at bar. Klay takes the ball at the top of the key. He drives left on Mayo, crosses right into the lane and … can’t finish a difficult right-handed layup on the right side of the rim. Drunk man has spilled his drink on hot girl’s tube top.
Klay sits at 3:59 of the third. 8 points on 3-11 FG, 2-5 3FG, two rebounds, no assists and two turnovers. The Warriors trail 53-77.
He checks in at 10:47 of the fourth and the Warriors have cut the lead down to 13, 74-87.
Not sure what Klay was thinking here (he wasn’t thinking is my guess), but he gets lazy after a Curry missed three and just stands there. Then he jogs back on defense as Mayo finds a sprinting Marion for an easy fast break layup. Lead balloons back to 20 at 76-96 with 8:41 left. If Klay had sprinted back properly, he could have prevented the Marion layup.
The Warriors take a timeout. Out of the timeout, for once, Mayo doesn’t play Klay tight and gives him tons of space at the wing. Klay pulls up and drills a wide-open three pointer. 79-96.
Klay plays good post defense on Vince Carter, but Vince draws a foul by swinging his arms through on Klay. Carter hits both FTs. 79-103 with 6:49 left.
Klay drives by Mayo, but again can’t finish. He tries to go against three Dallas defenders with an up and under move. He is rejected. Not even close. Drunk man barfs on hot girl, gets slapped.
Later, he misses a deep three after bringing the ball up court.
Dallas has the game firmly in hand and Klay sits with 5:52 to go.
11 points (4-14 FG, 3-7 3FG), three rebounds, no assists, one steal and two turnovers.
A little more balanced good versus bad game for Klay compared to Memphis. Still, his strong defense was not enough to combat his missed shots and awful drives to the basket. He’s not doing enough to help the team through this terrible 4-game slump. In fact, he’s contributing to it.