Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson played through a left thigh contusion on Thursday after a collision with Cleveland Cavaliers center Timofey Mozgov in the first quarter. After the 120-90 Cavaliers win, Thompson expressed confusion with Mozgov's screen on the play and called it "kind of dirty."
"I didn't get it," Thompson said, shaking his head. "I don't know. I'm guarding Kyrie [Irving], running full speed downhill, I just don't know who is trying to set a pick on me in the middle of the key. If it's on the perimeter, I understand. But didn't make sense to me. Obviously didn't feel good. But I'll be all right. Luckily for us I'm going to take the day off tomorrow and get healthy. But it's the Finals. Nothing's going to keep me out of it.
"But I re-watched it," he continued. "I'm just confused why he's trying to set a screen in the middle of the key when we're both running full speed downhill. It seemed kind of dirty to me. He stuck his knee out too, but, you know what? That's basketball."
Here's the play in question:
Thompson is right -- that is a weird time to set a screen, and it is a little dangerous. Is it really dirty, though? Hard to say.
Even if Irving drove a little bit early, Mozgov's best option in that situation would usually be to get out of his driving lane. In the big man's defense, though, he has been out of Cleveland's regular rotation for almost two months now. He was thrown back in there in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, so it's understandable if his rhythm and timing were off.
Thompson re-entered the game in the second quarter and immediately scored 10 points in about five minutes. He didn't score outside of that stretch, though, and he only made 1-of-7 3-pointers in the loss.