Klay Thompson picked a bad time to have an off night.
The Golden State Warriors guard, who had connected on 45% of his three-point attempts over his last four games, went 1-for-10 in a loss to the Western Conference-leading Phoenix Suns on Wednesday. The Warriors lost the game 107-103, falling to fourth place in the conference. They now sit only two games out of fifth place, where they would face the prospect of going on the road for their first series.
Despite the rough performance, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said he still has full faith in Thompson and wants him to keep shooting through slumps.
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Kerr Backs Thompson
Coming off two consecutive major injuries and not stepping foot on the court in more than two full years, Thompson has exceeded expectations this season. He immediately moved back into the starting lineup after returning in January, averaging 18.7 points in 28.9 minutes per game. With fellow Splash Brother Steph Curry out for an extended stretch with a foot injury, Thompson has often been the team’s primary scoring threat — and a main focal point for defenses.
So when Thompson runs into a bad game, as he did on March 30, Kerr doesn’t want him to back off.
“Not to be unexpected coming off a two-and-a-half-year absence,” Kerr said of Thompson’s struggles shooting against the Suns. “He’s such a competitor. He wants to do well so badly, he tends to press when things aren’t going his way. It’s because of how much he cares. We just gotta keep encouraging him. The whole point is we have to get great shots for each other. Klay had a couple games on the trip where he gave up the ball and got it back. He’s gotta trust it comes back to him. When he does that, we’re at our best.”
Looking for a Silver Lining
Though the loss on Thursday may have been a major setback to the Warriors in the standings, many were able to see a positive in the loss. Draymond Green said he was encouraged by the way the team came together.
“We don’t do moral victories around here,” Green said, via The Athletic. “We’ve won way too much to have moral victories. But tonight we found ourselves. We found our competitive spirit. We found our defense. It’s something we can build on.”
Green admitted that it had been a rough road trip for him, the first time he traveled with the team since December, but felt better about his play on Wednesday.
For Kerr, the loss to the Suns was a chance to see the potential that the Warriors could bring into the playoffs. Though the team is still waiting for Curry to return, veteran Andre Iguodala was back and the team played some of the best defense in weeks.
“The main thing is we can come out of that game recognizing our team,” Kerr said. “That’s our team. It’s a great sign, and that’s what it needs to look like from here on out.”
The Warriors also showed a potential scoring punch with Jordan Poole, who moved to the bench with Thompson’s return but has been in the starting lineup with Curry out. He tied a career-high 38 points against the Suns, though missed a half-court shot in the closing seconds that could have sent the game to overtime.