Although things may not be looking great for the Golden State Warriors after two games of the 2022 NBA Finals, things aren’t exactly looking bad either.
After blowing Game 1 with a poor fourth quarter, the Warriors sent the Boston Celtics a huge message by routing them in Game 2 by 19 points by virtue of a dominant second half.
Stephen Curry is playing well, and they have made over 40 percent of their 3-point shot attempts thus far in the series.
But one thing still hasn’t quite panned out yet: Klay Thompson hasn’t really looked like his old self yet.
He has shown flashes of it throughout these playoffs, but so far in the championship series, he hasn’t really returned to his vintage self.
Make no mistake: The Warriors will need Thompson to be his vintage self more often than not in order to overcome the Celtics.
Thompson Has Been Gradually Getting His Groove Back
After injuring his ACL in the 2019 Finals and tearing his Achilles just prior to last season, there was plenty of concern about whether Thompson would ever be the same player he was in the past.
He finally returned to game action on January 9 versus the Cleveland Cavaliers, and for most of the regular season, he struggled to find any type of consistency.
But towards the end of the schedule, he started to look more like the iteration that helped Golden State win three world championships from 2015 to 2018, averaging 30.8 points on 48.0 percent overall shooting and 45.0 percent shooting from 3-point range.
In the first three rounds of the playoffs, Thompson put up 19.8 points while shooting 45.7 percent from the field and 39.9 percent from beyond the arc, making it seem like he was truly getting his game back.
He had a 30-point outing in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals against the pesky Memphis Grizzlies to help put them away, then he gave the Dallas Mavericks 32 points in the Game 6 clincher of the Western Conference Finals.
In both contests, Thompson made eight 3-pointers on at least 50 percent accuracy from that distance.
All that is in line with what he did in the playoffs during the Warriors’ recent run in which they reached the Finals five straight times and took home rings three times.
Single postseasons with 70+ 3PM in NBA history:
Steph Curry 2015
Steph Curry 2016
Klay Thompson 2016
Steph Curry 2017
Steph Curry 2019
Klay Thompson 2019
Steph Curry 2022 pic.twitter.com/Ln2nugGXW7
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) June 6, 2022
Klay Hasn’t Gotten Uncorked In The Finals Yet
Although the 6-foot-6 wing shot 3-of-7 from 3-point land in Game 1 of this year’s Finals, he was just 6-of-14 overall from the field, and even though it wasn’t terrible, it also wasn’t terribly efficient.
Thompson struggled in Game 2 though, as he seemingly couldn’t throw a marble into the San Francisco Bay.
He went 4-of-19 in that contest, including just 1-of-8 from downtown.
Klay Thompson went missing in Game 1 AND Game 2:
10-33 FG (30%)
4-15 3PT (26%) pic.twitter.com/gWV0EhbuLH
— Basketball Forever (@Bballforeverfb) June 6, 2022
Many expect Thompson to eventually have at least one or two big games in this series, but some also wonder if his two major injuries have taken something away from his physical ability.
During Game 2, the commentators on ABC noted that he doesn’t have the same lateral quickness he used to possess, which tends to affect players even more on the defensive end.
Ah yes, defense – it was the one thing that made Thompson much more than a one-trick pony and helped him make the All-Star team five straight times.
Perhaps some great defensive play from him will translate to him getting hot on the offensive end, as he often did in the days of yore.