CLEVELAND — Klay Thompson was walking with a slight, but noticeable limp Tuesday. He’s still feeling the effects of the right ankle sprain he suffered in Game 1 when J.R. Smith fell into his legs.
But Thompson said there’s no doubt he’s playing in Game 3 Wednesday when the Warriors try to take a commanding 3-0 lead on the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals There was some doubt as to whether Thompson would be able to in Game 2, though.
Draymond Green swore that Thompson wasn’t playing after seeing him hobbling the day before the game. Thompson played, and finished with 20 points in 34 minutes in the Warriors’ 122-103 victory, prompting Green to call him “one of the toughest guys, if not the toughest I’ve ever played with.”
Thompson doesn’t get the headlines some of the other Warriors’ stars get — Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and even Green. He’s also far-less animated and much more even-keeled. But Thompson is Mr. Reliable for Golden State.
“I do think I have a high pain tolerance, but I do definitely feel pain still,” Thompson said. “So it’s not like I’m invincible.”
Thompson doesn’t miss many games though. He’s sat out 21 in his seven NBA seasons and none during the playoffs with the Warriors reaching the Finals the last four seasons.
A wrist injury kept Thompson out of nine games this season, the most he’s missed in his career. But historically the Warriors know they can always count on their shooting guard to play, and to hit big shots.
“He’s there every single day,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s only missed a handful of games in his entire career. Some of them were because I insisted on giving him a rest. He’s just there. He’s like a machine every day at practice. Unless he sleeps in and misses practice, which he’s done a couple times. But he’s just there. You count on him. You just count on him every day.
“A lot of people think of toughness and they think bravado. But toughness is also a quiet confidence and a resilience. I think Klay embodies that. He’s there for us every night.”
Thompson has proven himself over his career to be one of the better two-way players in the league. He’s averaged at least 20 points over the last four years and has never shot below 41 percent on three-pointers.
Thompson also relishes he role playing with some of the best players of all time, and for championships every year. The Warriors are two wins away from their third in four years.
“He doesn’t complain,” Durant said. “He’s low maintenance. He doesn’t really care for the celebrity or the fame that comes with being an NBA player. He just works hard every day, comes and plays defense hard. And he cares.
“Sometimes you see it, sometimes you don’t with Klay, but we know it’s there all the time because he’s so consistent every day. Somebody who just genuinely loves to play ball and wants to do it as best as he can, because he knows his time is short. So somebody who embraces every single day, that’s toughness to me.”