Klay Thompson shrugs off NBA Finals shooting slump

Jun 5, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) shoots the ball against Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) during the second quarter during game two of the 2022 NBA Finals at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

After shooting 49 percent against the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals, Klay Thompson is having a hard time against the stingier Boston Celtics’ defense in the NBA Finals.

In the first two games, Thompson only averaged 13 points on a paltry 32 percent shooting from the field, including an ugly 1 of 8 from deep in Game 2.

But the other half of the Warriors’ Splash Brothers isn’t bothered.

“This is nothing I’m immune to. I’ve been through shooting slumps before. The best part is how you respond,” Thompson told reporters after Tuesday’s practice in Boston.

The next two games will be crucial for the Warriors as they need to steal one in Boston to regain homecourt advantage.

“Come Game 3, I’ll probably not do much differently rather than just play with great pace and pump great shots. When I tend to do that, I tend to have a big night,” Thompson said.

“Most importantly, [it] feels good going 4-for-19 and winning by 20. I’d rather do that than 13-for-19 and lose by 10. Been there, and that’s never fun.”

The Warriors, a 3.5 underdog in Game 3, will need Thompson to regain his golden shooting touch against a fired-up Celtics team playing in their first NBA Finals game in Boston since 2010.

New Orleans Pelicans’ star Cj McCollum underscored Thompson’s value to the Warriors when he joined ESPN’s “Get Up” on Monday.

“If he plays like he did in Game 2, they have no chance of winning this series, to be honest with you,” McCollum said.

But Golden State coach Steve Kerr isn’t worried about Thompson’s shooting slump (10-33 from the field, 4-15 from deep) in the series.

“I’m not particularly concerned about it because this isn’t the first time it’s happened. Klay has a way of responding to mini slumps or whatever you want to call them,” Kerr said.

“The point of emphasis will be let’s make sure we get good rhythm shots early. If we do that individually and as a team, then it puts everybody in a better position.”

Stephen Curry said he hasn’t talked to Thompson about the shooting slump. It’s an unspoken thing.

“We both understand that vibe,” Curry said. “History with him has shown there’s no predictor. He can just take it to another level. Regular season, playoffs, he’s always just found a way to get himself going. Especially in the playoffs, just to make an impact that’s loud. Usually, it’s really loud.”

Thompson’s confidence is unshaken. He leans on his Youtube highlights to keep up his confidence.

I probably did it [Monday], actually. I remember being in college. When you go through a shooting slump, the video guys will pull up a great game of when everything seemed in unison; your body was working so well, that ball was just flowing off your fingertips,” Thompson said.

“Gosh, probably just YouTube “Game 6 Klay” because there were some very high-pressurized situations I was in. I ended up shooting the ball well. When you can do it when your back is against the wall, you can do it at any given moment. It’s just about keeping that mentally strong.”

Curry sensed his tag-team partner’s confidence hadn’t waned despite the slump. It’s just one of Thompson’s strong characteristics that made him one of the game’s greatest shooters.

“His demeanor never really changes. It’s not really something you can just look at and be, oh… if you saw him now, you’d think he’s averaging 50 in this series. He’s got just a very confident look about him. That’s the best thing about him,” Curry said.

Game 3 of the NBA Finals is scheduled for Wednesday at 9 pm ET on ABC.

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