Klay Thompson did not show too much excitement over his performance in Thursday’s game. He was saving it for a certain somebody when he got home.
More specifically, his beloved English bulldog, Rocco.
“I celebrate with Rocco every night,” Thompson said after the Warriors’ 112-97 win over Dallas. “It’s a blessing to have him in my life.”
There was a lot to recap for his four-legged friend.
Thompson finished with 25 points on 10-for-18 shooting, including making all five of his three-point attempts. He had a plus-20 rating, the highest of any player Thursday.
Despite that incredible performance, he was still overshadowed by Kevin Durant’s near triple-double (36 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists). But that’s par for the course for Thompson, who is used to being behind, not one, but two Most Valuable Players when Stephen Curry is healthy.
Another man would hate that. Another man would want his own team. But not Thompson, who is the kind of guy who really just needs affirmation from his dog.
“I think Klay is probably the quietest of our All-Stars,” said Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr. “Just the consistency of his effort and his durability. He’s just there for us every single night guarding the toughest guy, knocking down shots, making plays — and then just goes home to Rocco.”
When asked if he thinks Thompson ever needs praise, Kerr couldn’t help but be a little tongue-in-cheek. After confirming that Thompson was heading into the interview room after he was done talking, he said, “He’s probably so excited.”
Thompson is averaging 20.7 points a game this season on 50.3 percent shooting from the field, and 45.9 percent from beyond the three-point line.
He’s a three-time All-Star, who truly just wants to help his team even if that means being a role player.
“I don’t go out there and try to please people’s superstar status,” Thompson said. “I just got out there and have fun.”
Thompson wasn’t having too much fun at the beginning of the game, when he committed three turnovers in the first half. But instead of getting in his own head, he decided to dig deeper.
“I was a little frustrated,” Thompson said. “But I rode the ship and stuck with it, and when you do that, you usually have a great outcome.”
It’s what Thompson does. He’s Mr. consistency, Mr. dependable.
Even after Curry sustained a sprained right ankle against New Orleans on Dec. 4, he didn’t try to take over the team or play another role.
Though Kerr was quick to joke about that when asked if his quiet, understated star has changed in Curry’s absence.
“Klay is a totally different person,” Kerr said. “He changed everything, his demeanor, he’s constantly barking out orders. He’s gotten so much more emotional with Steph out. Now he feels all this pressure.”
Kerr then decided to stop messing around.
“Sorry, I couldn’t resist,” he said. “Klay has never changed with anything that has ever happened in the 3 1/2 years that I’ve know him…He’s a machine.”
That’s great for the Warriors, who know they can rely on Thompson’s incredible shot and humble attitude night after night.
And it’s even better news for Rocco, who knows that his friend will always choose him for a celebration.
“Dogs unconditionally love their owners, so it feels great every time I see him,” Thompson said.