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Steve Kerr reveals why Klay Thompson checked in despite huge blowout

Klay Thompson

The Golden State Warriors suffered their worst defeat of the Steve Kerr era to end their season at the hands of the Utah Jazz. Yet even after being down 39 points in the fourth quarter, All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson checked back into the game with 6:52 left in regulation — a puzzling move from a veteran team already locked as the No. 2 seed.

Thompson said it was a matter of rhythm, a concept reporters around him had a tough time buying.

“No, I wanted to get some rhythm,” he said, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “That was about it.”

Thompson had 19 points in the game to start the fourth quarter and needed three more points to average an even 20 points per game for the season.

As expected the marksman started the quarter ready to pull up, having shot three straight threes to start the period, but coming up empty in all three attempts with his night looking most likely over.

Surprisingly, he checked back into the game, hit a two-point jumper and was fouled in a later play, netting both of his free throws before an intentional foul brought him out of the game.

Kerr sheepishly explained his reasoning for leaving the sharpshooter in the game, even if no one was biting.

Kerr: “That’s why Klay was out there for awhile. He really needed a rhythm.”

You pulled the plug on him at nine minutes, then put him back in, he scored four more points…

Kerr: “Just needed a little more rhythm. I felt like maybe another, I don’t know, three or four more points and his rhythm would be better for Sunday.”

Do you think he accomplished his season goals?

Kerr: “Yeah, the season goal was to establish rhythm going into the playoffs and he did that.”

Does rhythm coincide with 20 points per game?

Kerr: “I don’t even know what you’re talking about.”

Thompson’s milestone might not be getting as much attention as Russell Westbrook chasing a second straight triple-double season, but averaging 20-plus points for a fourth straight season is no small feat — even if it did take a little extra push.