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The Warriors‘ season lives on largely thanks to Th
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Klay Thompson flashed back to a night he left the arena still in uniform
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, furious about his forgettable p
erformance against Denver.
It used to be he struggled to shake off a bad night, or even a bad start to a game.
Now, he just keeps shooting. Whenever he feels like it, from wherever. No conscience. A hand or two in his face, no matter.
”I was not always like this. I used to be so hard on myself, especially early in my career,” Thompson said. ”… I learned, as I get older, if you play with passion, you play hard
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, and you leave the game saying I gave everything I have tonight in those 48 minutes, you can live with the result.”
The Warriors‘ season lives on largely thanks to Thompson’s shooting touch. Golden State is one win from a fourth straight NBA Finals, headed back to Houston for Monday night’s Game 7.
He came through with the defending champions’ season on the line in another do-or-die Game 6, just as he did two years ago at Oklahoma City. This time he scored 35 points with nine 3-pointers as the Warriors rallied with a huge second half to beat the Rockets 115-86 on Saturday night to force a deciding game in the Western Conference finals.
His defense shined, too. Oh, and the typically subdued Thompson let his emotions flow for all to see: He flexed his biceps Draymond Green style, pumped his arms like Kevin Durant and yelled out the way Stephen Curry often does at Oracle Arena.
Thompson has long been content to be the understated All-Star among the four in Golden State’s starting lineup.
”I just wanted to play with as much passion as I could tonight. Probably sounded more vocal than I usually am,” Thompson acknowledged. ”When your back’s against the wall, if your shot’s not falling, you can always control your passion and how hard you play. Usually when I do that
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, it trickles over to other aspects of my game.”
Curry’s Splash Brother did it in 2016 when he scored 41 points against Durant’s former Thunder team with the Warriors facing elimination. They went on to win Game 7 before falling to LeBron James and the Cavaliers in a seven-game NBA Finals.
Durant had no interest in recollecting, smiling and laughing with Curry as he said, ”next question.”
As for Curry?
”I think we both blocked that whole year out of our memory,” the two-time MVP quipped.
No arguing they both appreciate Thompson’s no-fear shooting approach and ability to almost single-handedly turn the tide of a game with a timely 3-pointer or two – or nine.
Once Golden State got going in transition, following clutch defensive stops, Thompson found the looks he so prefers from long range.
”I feel like we’re the best team in the world and most fun team in the world to watch when we’re pushing that ball, getting defensive stops and making plays,” he said. ”We’ve got too much talent not just to hit singles like Coach always says. Trust the next man ahead of us. It will end up working in our favor most of the time.”
Thompson shot 13 for 23 and 9 of 14 from deep as the Warriors responded from an early 17-point deficit to dominate James Harden and Houston the final three quarters, outscoring the Rockets 93-47 after trailing 39-22 at the end of the first.
Thompson went a combined 20 of 32 from 3-point range in those two impressive Game 6 shows, Saturday and in 2016.
”I think Klay doesn’t worry too much about repercussions. He doesn’t worry about judgment and results. I think he just loves to play
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,” coach Steve Kerr said. ”He’s so comfortable in his own skin. I just think he wants to go out there and hoop, and he doesn’t worry about much else. So the pressure doesn’t seem to bother him much. He just competes and plays. As I said, the two-way ability of this guy hounding the MVP of the league, most likely, all game, and continuing to rain down 3-pointers, he’s amazing.”
More than two weeks after he returned to the disabled list for a second time this season, the Boston Red Sox have no timetable for second baseman Dustin Pedroia’s return.
Pedrioa underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee last October and began the season on the disabled list. He began a minor league rehab assignment last month and was added to the Boston roster on May 26.
But Pedroia lasted just three games, going 1 for 11 with a pair of walks, and when soreness in the knee remained
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, the team put him back on the shelf on May 30.
“It was a major surgery,” manager Alex Cora said. “We didn’t know what to expect, so we are where we are now. We’re hoping that, yeah, he’ll be back. When? We don’t know. But I still believe he’s going to contribute this season and he’s going to help us to win.”
Without Pedroia in the lineup, Cora has turned primarily to Eduardo Nunez at second base with Brock Holt getting 17 starts as well. Overall, Red Sox second basemen have combined for a .614 OPS and rank second-to-last in baseball with a minus-12 Defensive Runs Saved.
Nunez will likely get the nod again Wednesday night as the Red Sox continue their three-game series with the Twins at Target Field behind left-hander David Price, who is 6-0 with a 2.64 ERA over his last seven starts.
“Better fastball command, just commanding the baseball better,” Price said of his recent success. “Making better pitches with runners in scoring position. That was a big problem for me in the times I struggled this year
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, just runners in scoring position. Four two-out runs in Oakland that day. All the runs were with two outs. Same thing my third outing against Tampa back at home. That was two-run outs as well.”
Price is 10-3 with a 2.52 ERA in 17 games, 16 of them starts, against the Twins.
Lance Lynn, the Twins’ scheduled starter, is starting to look much more like the pitcher Minnesota had in mind when it signed the veteran right-hander to a one-year deal during spring training.
Lynn slumped out to a 8.37 ERA through his first five starts but has gone 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA in eight starts since, working at least six innings in all but two of those outings.
He struck out a season-high nine with just one walk his last time out but took his first loss since May 16 after the Tigers for tagged him for three runs in the seventh inning.
“You’ve got to get through the seventh there. I wasn’t able to do it,” Lynn said after the game. “Everything was still there. Just made one bad pitch and ran into a barrel. … Ended up giving up three runs and it cost us the win.”
Lynn has three career starts against the Red Sox, going 0-1 with a 1.89 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 19 innings of work. He last faced Boston late in the 2017 season but did not take a decision after allowing two runs on seven hits over six innings.
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