Warriors' Thompson to return for NBA Finals Game 4, Durant still out
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Everyone knows about Klay Thompson's ability to get dangerously hot in a hurry on offense.
His stingy defense might just be the thing that matters most when he returns for the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night with his team trailing Toronto 2-1.
"We can't fall into the trap of thinking offense alone is going to win us another championship or letting that end of the floor affect our defense," Stephen Curry said on the heels of a postseason career-best 47-point performance in the Warriors' Game 3 defeat.
Thompson is scheduled to play Friday barring any further issues with his strained left hamstring after he sat out the 123-109 loss Wednesday, while Kevin Durant remains sidelined as he attempts to work back from a strained right calf.
With the way Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry and Danny Green delivered time and again for the Raptors to answer every big shot by Curry, Thompson's defense will be a key part of the two-time defending champions' adjustment as they try to even the series at home before another trip to Toronto.
"People fall in love with his shooting and how hot he can get on the offensive end, but the way that our team plays defensively and the chemistry that we have and the experience, he's right at the forefront of that," Curry said. "And it's a tough adjustment when guys who haven't been in that position consistently and in these type of moments are thrown into his minutes. So you would love to have him out there on that end of the floor as well, especially with a team like Toronto."
Kevin Durant's injury has lasted longer than anyone expected. /VCG Photo

Kevin Durant's injury has lasted longer than anyone expected. /VCG Photo

Two-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Durant, the team's leading playoff scorer with 32.5 points a game, did not have a setback, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, but trainers will not clear him for scrimmage work before Friday or Saturday.
"I was hoping today would be the day when he could get out on the floor," Kerr said. "It's going to be probably the next couple of days. That's the next step.
"So the hope would be that he could still make it back at the end of the series."
Durant's absence hits the team on defensive schemes as well as in scoring.
"He's an All-World athlete who makes your team better, so it's a tough blow," Curry said. "But we still have a great opportunity in front of us and we're going to lay it all out there on the line to try to get it done."
Thompson sees the series balanced on a knife's edge without a healthy Durant.
"It would suck if Kevin can't come back," Thompson said. "I still think we would have a good chance to win the finals, but obviously that takes a huge hit. I don't think it would make us the clear-cut favorite anymore without him."
(With input from AP, AFP)