Warriors’ Klay Thompson Trying to Channel Inner Michael Jordan vs. Mavs

Warriors star Klay Thompson guards Mavericks star Luka Doncic

Getty Warriors star Klay Thompson guards Mavericks star Luka Doncic

Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson has always prided himself on being an impactful two-way player. Not only does he want to score on offense, but Thompson also wants to play stout defense.

One of the reasons Thompson is an elite two-way player is he studied guys like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade, three legends who were a handful to deal with on both sides of the ball. After the Warriors defeated the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the 2022 Western Conference Finals, Thompson spoke about how he’s trying to channel his inner Jordan, Bryant and Wade against the Mavericks.

“Marking the best player every night for 40 minutes is not easy, and going to get buckets on the other end, but it’s something I love to do,” Thompson said. “All the best two guards to ever play the game played both sides of the ball. Whether it was Mike, Kobe, D-Wade, the guys I really idolized as a kid. They all competed on that side. So I just try to follow the same mold.”

Thompson finished with 15 points, five rebounds and four assists in Game 1 while shooting 7-of-13 from the field and 1-of-4 from beyond the arc. He scored all of his points in the second half and registered a plus-minus of +20.

Thompson made the All-Defensive team in 2019. At 6-foot-6, the three-time champion is able to guard point guards, shooting guards, small forwards and sometimes power forwards. Thompson knows he’s a good defender, but he wanted to make sure everyone knew how special one of his teammates was after Game 1.

Thompson Loves Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins was tasked with being the primary defender on Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic in Game 1 and the Kansas product held the Wonder Boy to 5-of-11 shooting against him.

“He was moving them puppies tonight,” Thompson said about Wiggins. “That’s why he was the No. 1 pick. You can’t teach that athleticism. You can’t teach that length. You can’t teach his timing. I’m just happy the world is getting to see who he really is, and that’s an incredible wing player, and he will be like this for the next 10 years.”

Mavericks head coach and Hall of Famer Jason Kidd was also impressed with Wiggins’ defense on Doncic.

“They did a really good job,” Kidd said. “Wiggins picking him up full court. They were box-and-one. Went zone. But they did a good job. Give them credit. Wiggins did a really good job. We understood coming into the series that we were going to see that. We’ll go back and look at the video and see what we can do better.”

The Warriors have three really good defenders in Thompson, Wiggins and Draymond Green. Golden State only gave up 87 points to Dallas in Game 1 and scored 112.

Thompson is undoubtedly happy his team is up 1-0 in the best-of-seven series, but the sharpshooter vows not to get complacent since he knows how talented the Mavericks are.

Thompson Expects Mavericks to Rebound in Game 2

The Mavericks defeated the Phoenix Suns in the second round despite being down 2-0. Thompson, whose Warriors blew a 3-1 series lead in the 2016 Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, is fully aware of how dangerous Doncic and Co. can be.

“We expect them to come back with a much better effort on Friday,” Thompson said. “It’s just one game. We can feel good now, but this team was down 2-0 and won the series last round.”

Thompson and the Warriors are three wins away from advancing to their sixth NBA Finals.

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