Klay Thompson holds nothing back in reflection of Warriors playoff loss to LeBron James and Lakers

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read

Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson reflected on losing to the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James in the second round of the playoffs last season.

Golden State was the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference, but after beating the Sacramento Kings in the first round, the team came up short against the Lakers, losing in six games.

Los Angeles was the No. 7 seed in the West last season, but the team ended up making the Western Conference Finals by knocking off the Memphis Grizzlies and Warriors in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

“Stings bad,” Thompson said to The Athletic of losing to the Lakers. “Bad. Because you want to win against a team that is a division rival, you want to beat your hometown, you want to beat your friends who are fans of the team, you want to beat LeBron obviously. We have such a deep history with him. Kudos to him. He’s still out here playing at the highest level he possibly can. So, yeah, it stings. Any time you come up short of your goal, and we have many times, it’s just motivation. It’s fuel. You think about it the whole summer. How could you have prepared better?”

The Warriors have matched up with James on several occasions, as Thompson and the team faced the Lakers star in four straight NBA Finals when he was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Golden State won three of those four meetings, but James led Cleveland to an incredible comeback in the 2016 NBA Finals, erasing a 3-1 series deficit to win the series in seven games.

Thompson and the Warriors won the NBA Finals in the 2021-22 season – Thompson’s first campaign back after he tore his ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals.

The Warriors star dealt with back-to-back brutal injuries, as he ruptured his Achilles prior to the 2020-21 season, which cost him the entire campaign and part of the 2021-22 season. Still, he returned and played at a high level to help Golden State win the title over the Boston Celtics in the 2022 NBA Finals.

Thompson revealed that he was tired in the series against the Lakers, which led to him playing pretty poorly.

“I learned that I was fried,” Thompson said. “I was tired. All my shots in that Game 6 were short. They were all on line. They were just short. I don’t know if that’s mental fatigue or physical fatigue. But it happens. Then on top of that, I learned as I get older, I’ll have to rely on my teammates and my smarts to be as efficient scoring the ball as I possibly can be.”

During the series against Los Angeles, Thompson averaged 16.2 points per game, but he shot just 34.3 percent from the field.

Thompson was still solid from 3-point range against the Lakers – shooting 38.1 percent from deep – but he made just 5.7 shots per game for the series despite taking 16.5 field-goal attempts per game.

It sounds like Thompson is hoping to make up for his poor showing against the Lakers to help Golden State compete for a title in the 2023-24 season. It’s quite possible the team will have to play the Lakers again in the playoffs to reach the NBA Finals this season.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.