OAKLAND (CBS SF) — While his on-court demeanor remains stoic, there is a competitive fire raging deep inside Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson every time he walks onto a court.
It’s fueled by a drive for perfection and has at times been overwhelming.
“I think that competitiveness allows me to play both sides of the ball so well,” he told reporters. “I hate getting scored on and … I’m such a perfectionist with my shooting, sometimes to a fault. So for me it’s about channeling the fire the right way. I think as my career has gone on, I’ve been able to do that.”
Thompson has been the offensive spark driving the Warriors offense in the first half of their last two playoff games. In the first half of the clinching Game 6 win over Houston, it was Thompson stepping up as Kevin Durant missed the game with an injury and Steph Curry was in foul trouble and scoreless. Thompson’s 21 points allowed Golden State to go into the half with a 57-57 tie.
In Game One of the NBA Western Finals against Portland on Tuesday night, Thompson scored the lionshare of his 26 points in the first half as the Warriors cruised to a win.
While Thompson has recently regained his stroke, he did struggle mightily against the Los Angeles Clippers. That is until a he took a dip in the Pacific Ocean cleared his mind and re-set his touch before Game 4. The result was a 32-point outburst.
So if he runs into problems again, will the ‘Splash Brother’ take another dip into the waters of the Northwest?
“If you go to the Oregon coast, you could get hypothermia,” Thompson said with a chuckle. “You could jump in for a little bit, you’d be all right. You might want to bring a wetsuit. It’s kind of sharky up there too so you’d be a pretty big looking seal. I’ll go jump in the Columbia (River) maybe the Williamette (River) but not close to the city (Portland). Lake Oswego is nice. You could find some nice body of water. They got a lot of them.”
If it sounds Thompson is well versed in Oregon geography, it’s because he spent much of his childhood in Portland when his father, former NBA star Mychal Thompson, played with the Trailblazers.
In fact, Thompson credits Oregon’s legendary wet weather with helping him develop his deadly shooting touch.
“I’m very lucky,” he said. “I have a dad who played in the league. He taught me the form at a young age. I just ran with it. It rained so much up there, I spent so much dang time in the gym because of the rain that I’m grateful for it.”
As to what he’s going to do when the series switches to Portland, Klay replied: “Burgerville and (visiting with) family.”
It seems his years in Portland left him a sweet jumpshot, a love for his relatives how live nearby in Vancouver, Wash., and a insatiable desire for a burger from the famed Northwest chain.