OAKLAND —Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant may be able to play as soon as Friday, but with guard Klay Thompson still uncertain less than two hours before Game 3 of the NBA Finals, and Durant still on the shelf for now, the Warriors will have to find some scoring elsewhere against the Toronto Raptors.
According to head coach Steve Kerr, Thompson will be a “game-time decision” for the 6 p.m. tip off at Oracle Arena as there still may be concern in regards to re-aggravating the left hamstring that was injured in Game 2.
“He’s going to come in here and work with the training staff in a little bit,” Kerr said in his pregame press conference. “We’ll decide then.”
Over the Warriors run of appearing in five-straight NBA Finals, Thompson has never missed a playoff game, and made 101 postseason starts. In 2015, Thompson took a knee to the head from Rockets wing Trevor Ariza, resulting in a concussion and ear laceration. Last season, Thompson suffered a high ankle sprain when he was rolled up on in Game 1 of the Finals by Cleveland guard J.R. Smith.
In both cases, Thompson was able to overcome each respective ailment and make starts allowing him to produce both offensively and defensively for Golden State.
This injury is different, though, as the two previous injuries were more of a matter of pain tolerance.
Hamstrings are trickier because they can get re-aggravated or even made worse by activity. If Thompson does more damage by playing in Game 3 — a game he’s lobbied hard to play in — that could potentially keep him out of the remainder of the Finals, depending on the severity.
“That’s the gist of it all, and our training staff will let us know the risk,” Kerr said. “If there’s risk, then we would not play him.”
While Thompson has reportedly made his case to take the floor, albeit a strong one, according to Kerr, the Warriors say they will not let him make the decision as it will be solely on them to make the call.
In Games 1 and 2, Thompson has been Golden State’s second leading scorer behind Stephen Curry, who would be relied upon to make an even bigger splash, as Quinn Cook and Alfonzo McKinnie would soak up Thompson’s minutes and Andre Iguodala takes over guarding Kawhi Leonard.
“That’s what makes Klay specia,” Kerr said. “He’s one of the best two-way players in the game, and that’s true regular season and it’s especially true in the playoffs against the very best players in the world. So we’ll have to make up for quite a bit if he’s not out there.”
Without Thompson on the floor at the end of Game 2, after he left with the hamstring strain after landing awkwardly shooting a 3-point jump shot, the Warriors were held scoreless for over five minutes, in part, due to a box-and-one zone defense that was deployed by the Raptors.
With Curry being harrassed, the Warriors were forced to look towards other options, who were unable to answer the bell.
Durant, who averaged just over 34 points per game before going down with a left calf strain that kept him out of the Western Conference Finals and Games 1 and 2 last week, is ramping up his activities. While Golden State will not practice in full on Thursday, they will have some of their youngsters get physical in full-contact scrimmages. Durant could be a part of those.
Kerr had previously said that it was “feasible” for Durant to return with only one practice under his belt.
“He had a really good workout yesterday, ramped it up, and it went well,” Kerr said. “He had another one today, it went well. So we would like to increase it tomorrow, meaning get other people involved, he hasn’t played any three-on-three, five-on-five.”
Durant was officially ruled out of Game 3 last week and his status in Game 4 is still undetermined.