Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson did not play in Game 3 of The Finals, though he could return for Game 4. As for hobbled All-Star forward Kevin Durant, Game 4 may mark his return to the lineup as well.
The two-time defending champion Warriors fell, 123-109, and again trail the Toronto Raptors 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. There was a hint of good news after that Game 3 loss as Warriors coach Steve Kerr sounded hopeful Thompson would play in Friday’s Game 4 (9 ET, ABC).
“The good thing is Klay has done well the last two days,” Kerr said, per Mark Medina of The Mercury News. “Now he has a couple more days to heal, and hopefully he’ll be out there on Friday.”
Additionally, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic said Kerr told him that he expects Thompson to play in Game 4.
Steve Kerr just told me that he expects Klay Thompson to play in Game 4 on Friday. Kerr said he doesn’t know yet about Kevin Durant’s status for that game.
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) June 6, 2019
Thompson’s status remained uncertain three days after he sustained a mild left hamstring strain. He had been listed as questionable for Game 3 and was evaluated by the training staff before tipoff.
Thompson did some running and shooting earlier in the day but Kerr said the Warriors weren’t going to play him “if there’s risk.”
“The whole point was to not risk a bigger injury that would keep him out of the rest of the series. So that was the decision we made, and I feel very comfortable with it,” Kerr said. “I never would have forgiven myself if I played him tonight and he had gotten hurt. So you live with the decision you make. You make a wise decision, the wisest one you can, and then you live with it and move forward.”
As for Durant, Kerr said before Game 3 that the two-time Finals MVP is on pace to participate in some 3-on-3 scrimmages on Thursday. Durant has been out of the lineup since he strained his right calf on May 8 in Game 5 against the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semifinals.
“He had a really good workout [Tuesday],’’ Kerr said, per Marc Berman of the New York Post. “Ramped it up, and it went well. He had another one [Wednesday]. It went well. So we would like to increase it [Thursday], meaning get other people involved. He hasn’t played any three-on-three, five-on-five.
“We probably won’t practice as a team. It will be a film session and a walkthrough. So if possible, we’ll get him together with some of our young guys, maybe a few of our coaches and try to get him out on the floor. That would be the next step. He’s got to continue to improve and not have any setbacks. That’s the main thing. So we’ll go from there.”
Thompson had appeared in all of a possible 120 career playoff appearances, but saw veteran guard Shaun Livingston start in his place Wednesday night. However, the Warriors were not about to jeopardize Thompson’s availability for the rest of the series with a potential hamstring tear.
The Warriors will practice on Thursday and Thompson plans to compete in more shooting drills and running exercises that will test his ability to change directions, per Mark Medina of The Mercury News. He’ll likely go through the same set of drills on Friday morning and may have to complete a pre-game warmup on Friday (for precautionary reasons) before the Warriors sign off on him playing in Game 4, Medina reports.
Despite being ruled out for Game 3, the Warriors officially listed Thompson as active. He spent time on the bench in warm-up gear and was stretching and staying warm on the off chance Kerr would put him in the game.
“He was giving it everything he had to be out there tonight. But I think wisdom prevailed in terms of this is potentially a seven-game series,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. “You would like to take advantage of tonight, but his overall health is important in terms of not taking away the rest of the series with something catastrophic happening. So hopefully he’s back for Game 4.”
Thompson is averaging 19.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists this postseason, including 23 ppg in The Finals.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.