Kerr praises Thompson for defense on Durant after Warriors’ loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
In 36 minutes, Thompson scored 15 points on 6-of-18 shooting and made just three of 11 attempts from 3-point range.
But the five-time NBA All-Star impressed defensively, earning praise from Golden State coach Steve Kerr for his performance against Suns superstar and former Golden State forward Kevin Durant.
“I thought Klay was great,” Kerr told reporters postgame. “I mean, he just did his best to make things difficult on Kevin. There’s not a whole lot you can do once he rises up and gets that release way above his head. Not a whole lot you can challenge. So, you just have to try to do your work early. I thought Klay did that.”
Durant finished the game with 18 points, a low mark considering the four-time NBA scoring champion’s career average of 27.3 points per game.
The former league MVP also shot a quiet 31.8 percent from the field, proving Thompson slowed him down mightily.
Thompson was the primary defender on Durant and did a great job keeping his former teammate off the perimeter. Durant was only able to launch two 3-pointers all game, leading Kerr to applaud Thompson’s off-ball pressure.
“He was physical with him off the ball,” Kerr said. “He tried to force him into some tougher spots. Kevin missed some that he’ll make next time. Klay was really solid defensively.”
Thompson’s defensive prowess made up for his rough shooting night, as the four-time NBA champion led Golden State’s starting five at plus-9 — a figure that speaks volumes in the Warriors’ four-point defeat.
Although the Golden State fell to 0-1 and Thompson had a subpar shooting performance, Kerr noted a building block in his wing’s defense. It’s no easy task to defend arguably the NBA’s best scorer in Durant, but Thompson held his own.
Expect Thompson to continue finding ways to impact games on both sides of the ball since the veteran is competing for a contract ahead of free agency in 2024.
Source: Yahoo Sports