Warriors’ Steve Kerr Defends Controversial Decision From Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson Warriors

Getty Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson reacts during Game 5 of the 2022 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics.

Klay Thompson is seen as one of the best shooters in NBA history, so Steve Kerr is willing to look past some of his more free-wheeling shot selections.

Unfortunately for the Golden State Warriors, one of those decisions came in the final seconds of a 128-123 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday. After the Warriors fought back to within three points with 13 seconds left in the game, Thompson attempted a heave from nearly half-court that missed the mark, allowing Denver to get the rebound and ice the game.

After the loss, Kerr stuck up for his veteran guard and defended the controversial decision.


Thompson Off the Mark

The Warriors the Nuggets by 18 points at halftime and by 20 early in the second half due in large part to the struggles of the second unit. The Warriors fought back and brought the score to 124-123 with 14.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter after Jordan Poole converted a steal and scored.

After the Nuggets got a quick dunk to stretch the lead back to three points, Thompson took his ill-advised shot and the Warriors lost their chance to tie the game.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Kerr defended Thompson and said he was good with any open shot from the All-Star guard.

“It was just like a little hit and handbag type play, and you’re just trying to confuse the defense and maybe get a mix-up on a switch,” Kerr said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “And at that point, if you have an open three, down three, no timeouts left, but you go ahead and take, especially Klay. He’s hit that shot many times.

“So I’ll take a look at the film. It was a decent look under the circumstances. Maybe not the best one, but one I’ll definitely live with Klay Thompson shooting an open three, albeit pretty deep.”

After the Warriors dispatched the Nuggets in five games in the opening round of the NBA playoffs, they fell short in a rematch in the season’s second game. Denver center Nikola Jokic notched a triple-double with 26 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists and had the biggest rebound of the game, collecting Thompson’s miss and then sinking both free throws after being fouled.

“He’s everybody’s kryptonite,” Kerr said after the game. “He’s a two-time MVP for a reason.”


Thompson Working His Way Back

This is the first time that Thompson has been with the Warriors to start a season in the last three years, suffering a pair of major injuries that wiped out more than two full years. Kerr has said he will be careful with Thompson’s workload to start this season, with a minute restriction that will gradually lift as the season goes on.

Thompson said before the season started that he believes he can play at his peak again.

“I expect to play at an All-Star level again and hopefully become an All-Star,” he said. “Early on, I’m on a minutes restriction. So I’ll try to be as efficient as I can with those 20 minutes. Within the next few weeks, I expect to play starter minutes again. I expect to be great with all the training I did and all the experience I gained from last year. I’m no longer being inserted in the middle of the season, so I expect to have a really good year.”

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