CHICAGO — There wasn’t much good for the Warriors to take from Thursday night’s shellacking at the hands of the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. But head coach Steve Kerr did see a few silver linings from the 118-99 loss, including Klay Thompson reaching an important minutes milestone during the second half.
Thompson played 10 straight minutes during the third quarter Thursday at Fiserv Forum, signaling to coach Steve Kerr that things are right on schedule with the five-time All-Star’s return.
“It was good. It was important,” Kerr said Friday before the Warriors faced the Chicago Bulls at United Center. “I thought we had some games within the game last night. I thought Klay played that 10-minute stretch and, without really looking fatigued, was great. I know he didn’t shoot it as well as he wanted to, but his conditioning looked great. I thought that fact that our second unit was diving on the floor for loose balls and fighting like crazy down 25 with two minutes left was great.
“you have to have an identity as a team, and that identity has to stick regardless of the results. I looked at last night as what was a humiliating first half turned into a good display of character and competitive grit in the second half.”
In 20 minutes Thursday, Thompson scored just 11 points on 3-for-11 shooting from the field and shot just 2-for-7 from 3-point range. Thompson will sit out Friday night’s game vs. the Bulls as the Warriors ease him back into NBA life without having him play back-to-backs.
But he is slated to play Sunday when the Warriors visit the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Kerr believes Thompson will see a slight uptick in his minutes in his fourth game back.
“I think the plan is to bump him up a little bit on Sunday,” Kerr said. “Not too much but a few minutes and go from there.”
In three games back, Thompson is averaging 14.0 points per game on 35.7 percent shooting from the field while playing 20:02 minutes per game. Those numbers will all start to tick up in the coming weeks as Thompson gets his NBA legs fully back underneath him.