Iron Klay: Thompson "sore" but unfazed by injury
ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 02, 2018 09:05 AM
Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson is helped off the floor during the first half of Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals between the Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, May 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
When it happened, it felt like the tide had shifted in a massive way against the defending champions.
JR Smith of the Cleveland Cavaliers slipped and fell hard into Golden State Warrior Klay Thompson's left leg at the 6:17 mark of the first quarter, taking the air out of the Oracle Arena. Thompson, one of the team's Splash Brothers, then had to be escorted back to the locker room by the Warriors' head trainer.
Luckily for Dubs fans though, it looked a lot worse than it actually was. The official diagnosis was a left lateral leg contusion, and Klay was soon back on the Warriors bench, before starting the second period.
When the final horn sounded, Thompson finished with 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting, 5-of-10 on three-pointers, with three rebounds and an assist, versus one turnover. After the injury held him to just under six minutes in the first quarter, he wound up staying on the court for 39.5 of the remaining 41 minutes of the game (including overtime).
In a media conference call a day after Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals, Klay described the injury as "sore" but "nothing too bad."
"It's less sore than it was last night, so that's a great sign. I expect it to heal up even more by tonight, hopefully," he said.
Game 2 of the Finals is scheduled for Monday morning (PHL time).
"I've been very blessed to not have any catastrophic injuries in my whole basketball career," Thompson continued. "I've had some knickknacks as far as sprained ankles, fracture thumbs, but nothing that was too detrimental to my future. So for me, I think I've had a high pain tolerance since I've been a kid. At this point of the year, everyone is going to be a little banged up, so you have to play through it."
After a lockout-shortened rookie season in which he appeared in all 66 regular season games, Thompson has never played fewer than 73 elimination round outings. That career low of 73 was this season, largely a result of missing eight games in March with a broken right thumb. Meanwhile, in the postseason, he's a perfect 99-of-99 in terms of hitting the court.
"Klay is just a physical specimen," his head coach Steve Kerr said. "It's just incredible - the resilience, the stamina to play both ends night after night, 40-plus minutes in the playoffs. He's a machine."
"Obviously, the stakes on the line right now are huge, so that helps," Thompson said of playing through the pain. "If this was Game 32 of the regular season, I would not have played last night. But since we only need four wins to hoist that trophy, the pain tolerance will go up.
"I thought I just rolled it tough [his ankle]. Nothing in my knees or my legs. It was just a high ankle, and it trickled down lower as the night went on. I've done that injury plenty of times, but luckily we have a couple days between games so I'll be able to get right."