Klay Thompson says tumult has diminished Clippers-Warriors series
You could make an argument that the games have been the fourth most compelling aspect of the first-round playoff series between the Clippers and Golden State Warriors.
Clippers owner Donald Sterling has received a lifetime ban after the NBA determined he made controversial remarks about black people. Golden State’s Mark Jackson has had to deal with rampant speculation that he’s coaching to keep his job. The Warriors had to respond to allegations that former assistant coach Darren Erman was fired last month for secretly recording conversations between the team’s coaches and players.
Given this backdrop of chaos, Stephen Curry’s making five three-pointers in a quarter seems ho-hum by comparison.
“When I watch ‘SportsCenter,’ it’s dominated by Sterling coverage or when I read stuff, it’s dominated by our assistant coach situation and all that,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said Thursday morning at his team’s shoot-around before Game 6 at Oracle Arena.
“I think it takes away from what a great series it’s been a little bit, both teams competing. There’s been some blowouts, some close games, so I think it takes away from what we’re doing out there on the court. So that’s why I’m happy just at this point in the series the fan base and whoever can just focus on the games from here on out. There’s no more distractions.”
Thompson said he did not think the emotional pendulum had swung in the Clippers’ favor after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued the lifetime ban for Sterling, effectively removing his presence from the series.
“When the sanctions did come down it was like a weight off all of our chests, not only the Clippers but every organization throughout the league,” Thompson said, “so I don’t want to say they’ve got an edge over us emotionally. They came out and played a good game and we’re going to need a great game to beat them, especially needing two in a row.”
Jackson’s shaky job status with the Warriors was a topic that brought a pained expression to Thompson’s face.
“I hope that’s not the situation just because I love playing for Coach Jackson,” Thompson said. “He’s a great mentor, not only a good coach but he’s a great friend, so we’re playing to win, we’re playing to win for him, we’re playing to win for the fans and for us. I don’t want to think about that because we don’t want to add any pressure to ourselves but also we just want to go out there and play hard and win for him.”
Thompson said for the Warriors to win Game 6 and even the series at three games apiece, they would need to be “aggressive to the rim early” and improve their ball movement from their 10-point defeat in Game 5.
“When we move the ball side to side and get in the paint and [have] kick-outs it’s when we’re at our best instead of tough pull-up threes and all that,” Thompson said. “The only guy on our team that’s really hitting those on our team is Steph and when he’s in rhythm, he’ll make a lot of them. I think that’s why we started off Game 4 so well, we were getting in the paint and making plays for each other, that just opens up everything.”
Get our high school sports newsletter
Prep Rally is devoted to the SoCal high school sports experience, bringing you scores, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes prep sports so popular.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.