Klay Thompson momentarily left the Cleveland Cavaliers' Game 3 win over the Golden State Warriors Wednesday night after colliding with Timofey Mozgov on a screen. Thompson's thigh made contact with Mozgov's knee, forcing Thompson to leave the floor with what was announced to be a left quad contusion:
Yikes. Klay Thompson down. This is worrisome... pic.twitter.com/016FWzjgIq— Dime Magazine (@DimeMag) June 9, 2016
Official word from the Warriors' locker room: Klay Thompson is expected to return (left thigh contusion)— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 9, 2016
Thompson came back to the game after receiving treatment, although his presence didn't do much to mitigate the Cavs' eventual 120-90 landslide victory. After the game, Thompson was not happy about the screen, and when asked about it,he called it a dirty play.
"I didn't get it. I don't know. I'm guarding Kyrie, running full speed downhill. I just don't know who is trying to set a pick on me in the middle of the key," Thompson said. "If it's on the perimeter, I understand. But didn't make sense to me."
"It seemed kind of dirty to me," Thompson said. "He stuck his knee out too, but, you know what, that's basketball."
Here's the play in question, from multiple angles:
Mozgov was whistled for an offensive foul on the play, which is understandable given the velocity and power of the collision. But dirty? Has Klay Thompson never been screened before? This wasn't a blind-side pick under the basket. This was a pick-and-roll where Kyrie beat Mozgov to the spot, and Mozgov barely has a foot in the paint when the actual contact comes. Mozgov's leg is nearly straight when Thompson hits him, so he didn't stick his knee out, either. It was just a fast play where Mozgov got him at just the right angle for Klay to hit him square on with his leg. In no way was this play dirty, and fits the NBA's definition of a screen.
We will see if that changes how Game 4 is called, given that even outside of this play, Game 3 was largely allowed to go on without too much referee intervention. At the very least, Klay Thompson has given us something to yell about until Friday, even if he has a very weak case against Mozgov.