OAKLAND, Calif. — Guard Klay Thompson started for the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of the NBA Finals Sunday night despite suffering a left leg/ankle injury in Game 1.
Thompson had to go through warmups under supervision of the training staff before a decision was made. Coach Steve Kerr said Thompson had improved when he checked in with the trainers on Sunday morning.
Thompson is listed with a left lateral leg contusion, but according to Yahoo Sports suffered a high ankle sprain when J.R. Smith slipped going for a steal with 6:17 left in the first quarter of Thursday’s Game 1 and took out Thompson’s legs. Thompson returned to start the second quarter and scored 24 points in the Warriors’ overtime victory, but his ankle swelled between Friday night and Saturday.
Thompson is averaging 20.7 points, shooting .464 from the field and .432 from 3-point range in the postseason for the defending champions. He has never missed a postseason game.
"It just seems like Klay is never injured," Kerr said. "Other than this year when he hurt his [thumb], I don’t remember him ever being hobbled before."
Thompson fractured his right thumb in March, missing eight games.
Guard/forward Andre Iguodala will miss his sixth consecutive playoff game with a left lateral leg contusion/bone bruise suffered against the Houston Rockets. Kerr said he is optimistic Iguodala will see action at some point in the Finals.
"He has gotten better gradually, but there’s no way of knowing for sure at this point," Kerr said.
Iguodala has been helpful to the Warriors while sidelined, and that includes the coaching staff.
"He came into the huddle the other night in Game 1 with a great suggestion that we went with and it worked," Kerr said.
The Cavs have made 28-of-95 (.295) from beyond the arc in their past three playoff games, one against the Warriors and two against the Boston Celtics. The Cavs are 8-4 in the postseason when they make 10 or more 3-pointers; they went 10-of-37 in Game 1 Thursday.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said he thought his team got some good looks in Game 6 against the Celtics, but said the Cavs settled for 3s in Game 1 against the Warriors.
"We had some shots, but we could have put the ball on the floor and attacked," Lue said of Thursday. "I thought we rushed some 3s. When they were flying out and trying to contest, we could have put the ball back on the floor. We got some decent looks, but not as good as we did the two previous games. We’ve got to do a better job with that."
Love finds a way
Facing the Warriors in the 2016 and ‘17 Finals was not the best matchup for Cavaliers center/forward Kevin Love. But that could be changing as the Cavs take on the Warriors in Game 2 of the Finals Sunday night at Oracle Arena.
When the Cavs captured the 2016 championship, Love averaged 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds, shooting .362 from the field overall and .263 from 3-point range in the series. Last year against the Warriors he posted averages of 16 points and 11.2 rebounds, and shot .388 and .387, respectively.
In Thursday’s overtime loss to the Warriors in Game 1, Love scored 21 points with 13 rebounds. He made 9-of-20 shots despite going 1-for-8 beyond the arc.
"He’s being more aggressive, owning his space on his post-ups," Lue said Saturday. "He was [8-for-12] inside the 3 last game. So just being able to post him against mismatches, against Draymond [Green] if it comes to that.
"I just think he’s more confident. I think he did a good job, too, defensively switching onto Steph [Curry], switching onto [Kevin Durant] and really making it tough for those guys. So overall, Kevin is in a good place. We need that same productivity."
When asked if more is required of him to win this series, Love said, "To beat Golden State, I think more is required from everyone. I thought Larry Nance showed a lot of poise and stepped up big for us in Game 1, especially on this stage, being his first Finals game. I thought he was great for us. We need more of those type of efforts.
"As far as my game, I had just looked at some games in the past Finals where I had been able to get shots and looks that were there. I was 1-for-8 from the 3-point line. Very uncharacteristic for me, but those shots are there."
Love said others can benefit from the Warriors keying on LeBron James, who scored a career playoff-high 51 points in Game 1.
"With so much attention being brought to LeBron and him penetrating and all eyes on him at all times, the shots are going to be there for us," Love said. "But there is also the extra pass and those guys are closing out hard. We have to continue to be aggressive."
If James opts out of his contract and becomes a free agent in July, the Philadelphia 76ers are expected to be among the suitors for the four-time league Most Valuable Player.
But that didn’t stop James from throwing some shade at 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo, who is under investigation by the organization over disparaging and insensitive tweets that might have come from so-called burner accounts.
On Thursday, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert sent out a series of tweets that gave reasons why they reached their fourth consecutive Finals. When asked Saturday if he saw them, James said, "No, not aware. I’m not on social media right now, so I wasn’t aware of that. It was his account though, right?"
Lue played postseason rookie Jordan Clarkson just over 17 minutes in Game 1, but Clarkson scored four points, shooting 2-for-9 from the field and 0-for-3 from long range.
In 18 playoff games, Clarkson is averaging 4.9 points on .303 shooting, .239 on 3-pointers.
"I thought he missed some easy shots that he normally could make," Lue said of Clarkson’s Finals debut. "I liked him being aggressive. I thought he was good defensively. He got a couple deflections, a couple of steals, but offensively he just didn’t make his shot."
Several of Clarkson’s shots have been short, but Lue doesn’t think it’s a matter of Clarkson being nervous in the playoffs.
"I think he’s comfortable because he keeps shooting," Lue said, laughing. "He’s not making shots right now. One thing about J.C., he’s confident. He’s not scared. So he’s got to be able to step up and make his shots."
Social media pressure
James entered the league in 2003 before the rise of social media. He recalled Saturday that in his early years he would have to be criticized by four or five writers or broadcasters before it finally got to him.
That’s no longer the case.
"As you get into the later years of the 2000s, the social media thing, everybody is excited about it. Everybody is like, ‘OK, just the touch of a finger you can pull something or see something.’ Everybody’s like, it’s the greatest thing ever," James said.
"If you’re a celebrity, you realize it’s actually really bad for you if you pay attention to it, like, if you really pay attention. There are people out there that really try to tear you down. You have to realize that, one, you don’t know who they are. Two, they don’t know what they’re talking about. Three, they’ve never stepped in your shoes or been in the light to understand what it means to have to perform or whatever the case may be."
As he got older, James learned how to tune out the social media negativity.
"You realize, ‘I’m going to do what I do. I put all my time into my craft. I gave it all that I have, and I live with the results,’" he said. "You can’t get involved in that. I can only speak for me. I’ve learned how to laugh at the memes. I’ve learned if it’s someone that’s trying to kill me in the fashion [choices] to laugh at that, too, because it’s funny at times, and not [put] too much into it."
James said he doesn’t "know how much scrolling goes on" with his teammates checking Twitter, Instagram and the like on their cellphones.
"But if I have some words of advice, if you’re a part of it and it bothers you, then you probably should just delete it off your phone," James said.
Draymond vs. TT
Green loves his role as the Warriors’ instigator. But the burly forward is not bothered by the current way of life in the NBA where players hug each other afterward, even if it has been a particularly nasty game.
"I think it’s great, I think guys have figured it out. What you hating somebody off the floor for, unless it’s gotten really personal?" Green said Saturday. "Sometimes it gets personal on the floor and that does spill over to off the floor. It’s just a matter of guys figuring it out mentally, guys being more business-savvy than they were before. I think it’s all a byproduct of that."
Green mixed it up with Cavs center Tristan Thompson at the end of Game 1, with Thompson shoving the ball in Green’s face, part of the reason the league fined him $25,000. Green said if Thompson wanted to take him on away from the arena, he’s all for it.
"I can’t meet him outside of here because I’ll still get fined. But I can meet him in the streets any day," Green said. "You can say somebody can meet you at the bus. I’m taking care of my family, I’m not going to meet you at the bus.
"But summers you can meet anybody anywhere. ... If you want to see me somewhere else, that’s fine. Any time."