Warriors’ Klay Thompson not fretting as misses mount

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May 18, 2017 - 8:43pm
Warriors’ Klay Thompson not fretting as misses mount More than an hour before the Warriors’ 136-100 rout of San Antonio on Tuesday night, Klay Thompson stepped to the corner of the three-point arc. During that pregame drill, with Thompson facing a defender made of air, a curious thing happened: Thompson repeated his textbook shooting form — balanced frame, minimal follow-through, relaxed shoulders, spread fingers — again and again, only to see the ball repeatedly clang off the rim. After averaging a career-best 22.3 points per game on 46.8 percent shooting in the regular season, Thompson is averaging only 14.6 points on 38.8 percent shooting in the playoffs. The player who hit more three-pointers in his first six years in the league than anyone else in NBA history has missed 35 of his 55 attempts behind the arc this postseason. “I feel like I’m playing well on both sides of the ball,” said Thompson, who before this year had increased his scoring average in each of the past four playoffs. [...] you want your shot to go in more frequently, but that’s basketball. Even Thompson is prone to the occasional shooting slump, but this one is especially prolonged. Twice (Game 3 of the West semifinals and Game 1 of the conference finals), Thompson has scored only six points and combined to make 3-of-20 shots. Perhaps more startling than his dip in efficiency is his lack of touches. After declaring in an interview with Yahoo Sports last summer that he wasn’t “sacrificing (expletive)” with Kevin Durant in the fold, Thompson took 17.6 shots per game this season — slightly more than he averaged in 2015-16. [...] with Game 3 of the West finals looming Saturday in San Antonio, he is hoisting only 13.9 shots per game in the playoffs. After taking 11 shots in Game 1 against the Spurs, he attempted 10 in Game 2. Stephen Curry, Durant and Draymond Green are each shooting at least 48.9 percent from the field. In steamrolling to the first 10-0 postseason start in franchise history, the Warriors have outscored opponents by 17 points per game. Though not as big of a factor offensively, Thompson continues to cement his status as one of the NBA’s elite perimeter defenders. In the West semifinals, while taking turns on Utah’s Gordon Hayward and Joe Johnson, he was relentless fighting through screens and putting hands on them along the arc.

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