Apr 19, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) guards Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) in the first quarter in game one during the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
If you knew nothing about the game and took a look at the final point tally of 28 you might surmise that Chris Paul wasn’t phased much by whomever was playing defense on him in the Golden State Warriors’ 109-105 win at Staples Center over the Los Angeles Clippers.
You may be right to think that or you may not, depends on how you view a 10 for 23 night by one of the league’s best point guards on a day when the Clips needed a little more. Either way, it won’t lead the Warriors to stray from their plan of attack against him.
The player that drew the bulk of the defensive assignment was Klay Thompson, who will probably be charged with keeping Paul in check for the remainder of the series. The thought is exactly the same as it was in 2013 when Thompson was given an assignment on San Antonio’s Tony Parker; bother the scoring point man with length.
In the games the Spurs won in that 2013 series, that plan didn’t really work, but in the two games the Warriors won, it worked to perfection. Well it didn’t really work to perfection yesterday (though Paul was held just under his season averages in field goal percentage and assists) but it was enough for the Warriors to win anyway, thanks in large part to the return fire of Thompson on the offensive end for Golden State.
When asked about how he was able to shut down Paul, Thompson replied;
"“I mean, he got almost 30 I think. He’s a tough cover and I just try and use my length to bother him on every drive. We know he’s the head of the monster, if we cut him off then they’re not half as good.”"
Klay’s 22 on offense really helped in holding off the late charge from L.A., especially that of Chris Paul who drilled two buckets from downtown to tie the game before the Warriors held on with free throws. After watching Steph Curry struggle his way to 14 points in Game 1, Klay will need to be a big factor on that offensive end of the floor too if the Warriors want to capture the series.