Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson was ejected for the first time in his career in Tuesday’s loss to the Phoenix Suns, but teammate Steph Curry doesn’t think it was warranted.
Thompson was tossed during a contentious third quarter that saw rising tensions among members of both teams. Thompson and Suns star Devin Booker had been exchanging words throughout the quarter, and later escalated to physical contact as they bumped chests. Both were given technical fouls, and Thompson was hit with a quick second technical when Phoenix’s Mikal Bridges bumped into him and Thompson responded with a shove.
The second ejection led to an automatic exit for Thompson, who continued his trash talk toward Suns players as Curry helped lead him off the court and toward the locker room.
After the game, Curry said he didn’t think officials needed to toss out his teammate.
Curry Stands Up for Teammate
Speaking to reporters after the game, Curry said there was a lot of talk on both sides and hinted that Thompson was unfairly singled out in his team’s 134-105 loss.
“I actually thought it wasn’t ejection-worthy,” Curry said. “There was 800 people on the court. … It was a lot of chirping on both sides.”
Warriors big man Draymond Green, who was involved in some of the tension with Suns players, agreed that there were a number of players involved.
“There was chirping on both ends, I know that,” Green said, via ESPN. “I think [the Suns] were very emotional.”
But Curry added that he loved seeing the fire from Thompson, who repeatedly taunted the Suns team during the episode and as he was leaving the court.
“After he got thrown out, he had a lot more to say, which I love,” Curry said. “The back and forth is a part of [the game], and I like that he’s engaged in that respect because it matters to him.”
Warriors Struggle Against Suns
Tuesday’s game was a low point for the Warriors, with Phoenix handing them their worst loss of the young season. Thompson made just one of eight shots, missing on all five of his 3-point attempts. He finished the game with just two points.
After the game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said that Thompson’s frustration with his rough shooting night could have been a factor in losing his cool on the court.
“His shot wasn’t going,” Kerr said, via ESPN. “Some decent looks early didn’t go and I thought he got a little frustrated. I love the competitiveness. Obviously, he took it too far with the ejection, but I love the fire. Klay is an incredible competitor. We need his energy.”
Kerr had previously noted that Thompson is still working to fully recover from the torn Achilles that wiped out all of his 2020-21 season and half of last season. The Warriors coach said Thompson would be on a minutes restriction to start the season and gradually work his way up to a full workload.
Kerr added that it could be a test for Thompson to remain patient with the process.
“He’d like to have his minutes bumped up,” Kerr said, via the San Francisco Chronicle. “But the reality is as you get a little older as a player, when you’ve had some injuries, you have to be a little more patient. You have to be on top of everything all year long and you have to be careful. We’re not going to mess around with that.”