Will Klay Thompson's struggles carry over to the NBA Finals? - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Will Klay Thompson's struggles carry over to the NBA Finals?

Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison

Golden State Warriors' star Klay Thompson has struggled scoring this postseason, despite the Warriors being undefeated heading into the NBA Finals. This postseason Thompson is averaging only 14.4 PPG and shooting 38.3 percent from the field, which are both lower than his regular season statistics. Golden State is 12-0 heading into the 2017 NBA Finals, but only posted a 12-5 record last season before reaching the 2016 NBA Finals. What is different for Thompson this year in the playoffs? Let's take a look back at Thompson's performances in both the 2017 and 2016 NBA playoffs.

Round 1

In the first round of the 2017 NBA playoffs, Klay Thompson only averaged 18.2 PPG in route to a 4-0 sweep over the Portland Trailblazers. In Game 3, Thompson scored a series-high 24 points on 8-21 shooting. This was Thompson's only game of the series where he shot 20 or more times. In contrast, during the first round of the 2016 NBA playoffs against the Houston Rockets, Thompson scored 20 or more points in three games. His most impressive performance came in Game 2, when he scored a game-high 34 points on 8-20 shooting. It took the Warriors five games in 2016 to beat the Rockets and advance to the Western Conference Semifinals.

Western Conference Semifinals

This year's Western Conference Semifinals featured Golden State and the Utah Jazz. Thompson's worst performance in that series was in Game 3, when he only scored a series-low six points. During that game, Thompson made one shot on nine attempts, including four misses from beyond the arc. In 2016 against Portland, Thompson never scored less than 23 points. In Games 1, 2, and 5 of that series, Thompson led all scorers in points and also scored 33 or more points in three of the five games during the series. To put this performance into perspective, Thompson scored 155 total points (31 PPG) during the 2016 Western Conference Semifinals, and only scored 129 points (16.1 PPG) during both of the 2017 first and second rounds combined.

Western Conference Finals

The 2017 Western Conference Finals featured both the one seed and two seed in Golden State and San Antonio respectively. The Warriors swept the Spurs in four games to advance to their third straight NBA Finals. During this series, Thompson averaged 11 PPG, which was highlighted by a Game 3 17-point performance where he shot 7-15 from the field. Last year's Western Conference Finals featured a seven-game series between the Warriors and Kevin Durant's Oklahoma City Thunder. The Warriors were down 3-1 in that series, but managed to battle all the way back to advance to the NBA Finals. A key component in the Warriors' series victory was Thompson's Game 6 performance. During that game, Thompson made eleven three-pointers, becoming the first NBA player in playoff history to accomplish that feat.

The 2017 NBA Finals begin on Thursday as the Warriors take on the Cavaliers for the third straight year. With the addition of Kevin Durant, the Warriors look to win their fifth NBA title in franchise history. Thompson's field goal percentage and field goal attempts per game have dropped since the postseason began and only time will tell if this trend will carry over to the NBA Finals.

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