Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson: The Poet is missing – Sport

Hello, hello – has anyone seen this man, maybe in San Francisco or now also near Boston? You can hardly miss him, he is 198 centimeters tall and usually wears a John McEnroe memorial headband. He does distinctive things; sinking a basketball into the basket so elegantly, for example, that the former US President and basketball aficionado Barack Obama once called it “poetry in motion” and “the most beautiful throwing technique in the world”. Just now, during the NBA Finals series, where on earth is Klay Thompson? And who is the guy standing on the floor instead of him?

You don’t have to file a missing person’s report like sports TV analyst and populist Stephen A. Smith did (“I called the police, they’ve got to find him!”) – but it’s true when Smith says, “That is not the Klay Thompson we know.” In the second game against the Boston Celtics, the Golden State Warriors sniper hit just four of 19 shots. Golden State still won 107-88 and tied in the best-of-seven series; Boston had won the first game because of a colossal slump by the Warriors in the final quarter. Virtually untraceable in this phase, in which Golden State would have needed a steady throwing hand: Klay Thompson. He threw and hit only once.

He has set a number of records and milestones, but airs and graces are alien to him

Thompson was supposed to be the feel-good story of this playoff; a symbol of never giving up – but persevering through brutal setbacks and rewarding yourself with a title. As a reminder: in game six of the 2019 final series (he had scored 30 points up to that point), the cruciate ligament in his left knee tore; the Warriors lost the game and thus the series against the Toronto Raptors. Thompson missed the entire 2019/20 season, then he was fit again – and tore the Achilles tendon in his right leg during a training game in autumn 2020. Another break for more than a year.

Anyone who has met Thompson a few times during this time understands why only Boston fans are currently cheering about misses. Affections are completely foreign to him, he seems rather embarrassed if he is recognized at a party, for example; He then diverts conversations from himself to others. When asked about rehab, for example, he said: “It’s fine, I’m optimistic – but now tell me: How are you?” He prefers to be a listener than a speaker, which is also why it is not known that he would have trouble with an opponent in the NBA ego and pride league, in which garbage speeches and the presentation of peacock feathers are part of the business.

Thompson, 32, is the league’s feel-good bear, who dresses up as Larry Bird for Halloween, charring himself more than the Celtics legend. Who gave an interview to a reporter who didn’t recognize him about how to deal with roadside scaffolding: “Well, I’ll take a look at the pipes first. If they’re new, then I’ll go downstairs; but if they’re look like they’ve been around for a while, then I’d rather walk around.” He later said, “The woman wanted my opinion on this interesting subject. It’s nice not to be treated like a star.” How can you not like someone like that?

All-Star, NBA Champion, World Champion, Olympic Champion – not much more is possible

In terms of sport, you could list a few records and milestones: 37 points in one quarter, nobody else in NBA history has managed that. Most three-pointers in a game (14), most three-pointers in a playoff season (98); not forgetting eleven three-pointers in Game 6 of the 2016 Semifinals series against Oklahoma City Thunder. He currently sits 18th on the all-time list of three with 1912, but has a better batting average than all before him except for Kyle Korver and teammate Steph Curry. Five-time All-Star, 2016 All-Star Weekend three-point champion, 2014 World Champion, 2016 Olympic Champion, three-time NBA Champion. Not much more is possible.

But it could all be reduced to this one statistic: With Thompson, the Warriors have always reached the finals since 2015; they didn’t even make the playoffs twice without the injured Thompson. This leads to this series of finals, the third game of which takes place on Thursday night (3 a.m. German time) in Boston.

In this Boston arena, the Warriors need a Thompson with a cool head and a steady hand

The duel is a mixture of chess and boxing. Both teams try to upset the opponent in some way; tactically, mentally and physically. There’s tugging and pulling, ramming and pushing, and every now and then there’s also a fight. The two coaches Steve Kerr (Warriors) and Ime Udoka are constantly changing the line-up and moves, but are often no longer able to intervene when a team is on a run or an actor has a particularly hot throwing hand. Then it’s a spectacle.

NBA Finals: Annoyed, frustrated, dissatisfied with himself: Klay Thompson (right) is still struggling against Boston in the final series.

Annoyed, frustrated, dissatisfied with himself: Klay Thompson (right) is still struggling in the final series against Boston.

(Foto: Cary Edmondson/USA Today Sports)

That means: The Warriors need a Klay Thompson with a cool head and a steady hand in these two games in the arena in Boston; they need: poetry in motion. In the first two games it often seemed as if he wanted too much, as if he wanted to force a really great performance, more punk rock than poetry – and he, who is otherwise easygoing about all aspects of the sport, suddenly seemed annoyed, frustrated, dissatisfied with himself.

“I just have to shoot better,” he said, and he sort of issued a missing person’s report to himself: “I have to find myself, I have to be myself – one of the best marksmen in history.” The self-confidence is justified, he says about the frustration of the first two games: “We are always at our best when we are desperate.” Of course, that’s also a message to Boston: Thompson no longer intends to be invisible in this final series.

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