At times, it felt as though Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson had gone missing during the final four games of his team's first-round victory over Denver. But head coach Mark Jackson always knows where to find his second-year player when it seems like he has pulled an in-game disappearing act. "I mean, you just look at that film, and you'll find him defending," Jackson said. "No matter if we needed him to defend Ty Lawson or Andre Miller or Andre Iguodala, it didn't matter. He was our defensive stopper. You lose sight of how taxing and demanding it is on your body to play at that high of a level defensively. It's taken a toll on his body, but he's getting it done defensively for us. "Man, he's a big-time defender." Though his offense deteriorated late in the first-round series, Thompson played the significant role of defensive cooler throughout for the Warriors - being assigned to whichever perimeter player from the Nuggets' stable started to get hot. As the team flew to San Antonio on Saturday in advance of Monday's second-round opener, Thompson knew that more daunting tasks wait in the Alamo City: Spurs guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. They are different players. Parker might be the best in the business at breaking down the integrity of a defense by using dribble penetration to exploit cracks and get into the lane. Ginobili is a whirling dervish of a left-hander whose herky-jerky style is equally apt at stuttering into drawing fouls or suddenly and agilely pulling up for clutch jumpers. "Tony is a savvy, veteran, guard who has done it at a high level for so long and has championships under his belt," Warriors point guard Stephen Curry said. "He's fast. He's shifty. Also, he's smart. He's just a smart basketball player. You can't relax on him at any point during the game. "You have to funnel him to where your help is and keep him off the free-throw line, but that's no easy task for anybody." Nobody completely shuts down the Spurs' backcourt duo, but Thompson has had relative success against both.
Warriors' Thompson playing tough defense
San Francisco Chronicle | May 5