NBA

Thompson impresses as Warriors rout Mavericks and says 'it felt good to be myself again'

By Sports Desk January 26, 2022

Klay Thompson said "it felt good to be myself again" after playing a season-high 25 minutes in the Golden State Warriors' 130-92 rout of the Dallas Mavericks.

Thompson is still getting up to speed having missed two and a half years, first with a serious knee injury then with a torn Achilles.

He sat out the Warriors previous two matches to rest his surgically repaired left knee but was part of a well-rounded offense that downed Luka Doncic and the Mavericks to help Golden State clock up a third straight win.

Thompson had 15 points alongside six assists, while Stephen Curry had 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Jonathan Kuminga added 22 points, while Jordan Poole had 17 off the bench for the title contenders.

"I really pride myself on my efficiency, so it felt good to be myself again," Thompson said of his performance.

"My mindset is just to play with energy, great focus and joy."

Head coach Steve Kerr believes it was Thompson's best performance since his comeback.

"I think this was Klay's best game in terms of his patience and allowing things to happen, he wasn't forcing it at all," Kerr said.

Doncic scored 25 points on an otherwise forgettable night for the Mavericks, whose misery was compounded by Tm Hardaway Jr going off court with a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot with seven minutes and 16 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

"I just want to say how sorry we are to hear that. You hate to see anybody get injured," Kerr said. 

"I just want to send him our regards from the organisation and hopefully he’s back sometime soon. I don’t know what the prognosis is. We feel terrible for him."

Doncic added of his team-mate: "That's just bad luck. I talked to him. He's disappointed. Every time you get injured you are sad, so we tried to cheer him up."

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    Butler was at his best for the Heat, finishing with 41 points on 12-of-19 shooting, nine rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks.

    He also took 18 free-throw attempts and only two three-point attempts in comparison, attacking the basket at almost every opportunity.

    Against a Boston team that can be just as physical and aggressive as the Heat, the six-time All-Star said he will thrive on it, but the individual stat line does not matter in relation to wins and losses.

    "I like physicality. I want to run into people and see who falls down first, who's going to quit first," Butler said. at the post-game news conference.

    "I think that's the style of basketball I like to play and so do they. I was zero-for-two from three tonight, I want to go zero-for-zero next game, because I just want to keep banging into people.

    "I think I speak for my teammates, the Miami Heat organisation when I say I know what I'm capable of. I don't do this, score 40 points, I play the way that I play to win, by all means necessary. It just so happens that I scored 40, but if I score 40 and lose I'm gonna be really pissed off.

    "I have so much trust in my teammates and I will continue to play that way. I've been a quote unquote scorer at other points in my career, and it didn't work out too well for me, so I'm glad that I have the guys that I have around me and with me."

    Down by eight at the start of the second half, the Heat turned it around with a 39-14 third quarter in which they were able to get six steals and force the Celtics to none-of-seven from the perimeter.

    Butler's 17 points and three steals as the Heat turned Game 1 around were critical, but he asserted that the team knew they needed to dial up the intensity on the defensive end before coach Erik Spoelstra even addressed them.

    "It's crazy because he [Spoelstra] didn't have to say too much," he said. "We already knew what we were doing wrong – turning the ball over, not getting back. We're at home, we've got to play better basketball, as a team. We did that, went on a little run, but this was just a win.

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    Jimmy Butler scored 41 points including 27 in the second half as the Miami Heat's third-quarter charge helped them to a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals with a 118-107 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.

    After trailing 62-54 at half-time, the Heat went on a 22-2 run early in the third quarter to storm ahead and never looked back from there. The Heat are 7-0 in the 2022 playoffs at FTX Arena.

    Butler's 41-point haul was his sixth time in 12 playoff games where he has hit the 30-point mark. It was also his third 40-point night of these playoffs.

    The Heat forward shot 12-of-19 from the floor, along with eight-of-11 in the second half, while he also had nine rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks in a remarkable all-round display.

    Butler becomes the first player this postseason with at least 30 points and four steals in multiple games.

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    The Celtics were left to lament their 39-14 third quarter, along with their 11-of-34 three-point shooting, cooling off in the second half.

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