Klay Thompson: “We would not be the Warriors without Draymond”
Klay Thompson defended Draymond Green and vowed that the Warriors “will respond like champions” in Game 4 against the Celtics.
Klay Thompson is confident that the Warriors can level the series and declared that that he is going to seize the moment as the Dubs and the Boston Celtics head into Game 4 of the NBA finals. The Warriors trail the series 2-1 and Thompson recognized that the team will need to improve on their performance from Thursday’s game at TD Garden to get back on level terms.
“It’s just about playing better, playing harder, playing as a unit. I don’t think we need to make incredible adjustments, I just think we need to come out with that force, the Warriors brand of basketball that has been so successful this past decade” he told reporters. “From watching the film, I think defensively we need to be better and play with a little more force on that end. They looked very comfortable in their shooting, their ball movement, getting the rim… they beat us up and outplayed us so I tip my hat for their performance in Game 3 and it’s our turn tomorrow to swing the momentum back in our favour”.
Draymond will respond
Thompson didn’t hesitate to defend Draymond Green, who faced a barrage of abuse from Celtics fans on Thursday, adding insult to injury in what was a sub-par performance by his usual standards, finishing with more fouls (6) than points. Thompson insists he will come good when it matters. “Draymond is here for a reason. We would not be the Warriors without Draymond,” he said. “He is one of the best players I’ve ever played with - he’s one of the smartest players I’ve ever played with. And, all of us are human, we are not immune to a bad night or two. But I know one thing for sure, is that we respond like champions and I know Draymond will come out and play his typical brand of ball - very physical, fast pace, talking trash and just being that Money Green that Dub Nation loves so much and has brought us to heights that the franchise has never seen before so, I’m excited, he’s excited, the whole team’s excited because we’re here and it’s an incredible opportunity”.
There was also encouragement for Stephen Curry who ended Game 3 nursing a swollen left foot after a collision with Al Horford. Thompson says he will be looking out for Curry: “We need to help Steph in general, he’s been incredible this series. We’ll do our best. I think we’ll respond. I think we’ll come correct tomorrow and I’m excited just for the opportunity - we still have an opportunity to even out the series and take home court advantage”.
As for how he has been handling the finals, Thompson explained that experience comes with age and now he is at least able to switch off for a while and not let the pressure affect him. “I’m not as anxious as I was in my younger days, which is good,” he said. “I remember a lot of incidents where we were doubting whether we could do it or we were up and we were feeling too good and maybe too cocky, and let the thing slip away. So, you can’t really relax until the final buzzer of the closeout game - that’s the hardest part about the playoffs. You have to deal with being uncomfortable until the mission is complete. But that’s just what comes with playing at the highest level. You’re uncomfortable until the main objective is complete”.
Grateful to be back
Even though the Warriors have it all to do to get back into the series. Thompson recognized that his situation is a massive improvement on where he was relatively recently - he ruptured the ACL in his left knee in the 2019 finals then suffered a torn Achilles injury in November 2020 which required a trip to the operating table and kept him out until the start of this year. “I’m incredibly grateful,” he explained. “The hardest part was having to watch, this time last year when it would be just be me in the arena, [Doctor] Rick Celebrini, some slow days and definitely on top of that, the hardest part was not being able to do a calf raise for about five or six months. So that was very tedious and took an incredible amount of work. What it means to be here, it’s just awesome. We were up 2-1, or 3-0 but that’s not the case. And still a great opportunity ahead. I’m just gonna try and seize the moment, knowing what the last two years entailed for me. Nothing’s guaranteed in this league so I’m just gonna try and soak it all in”.