Now adding to Cleveland’s woes: Klay Thompson’s shot is back

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OAKLAND — Kevin Durant has been the best player on the court through two games of the NBA Finals. Stephen Curry has been fantastic for the Warriors as well.

Now adding to Cleveland’s woes: Klay Thompson’s shot is back.

His shooting slump felt like a distant memory as he dropped 22 points in Game 2, to go along with his stellar defense making life difficult for Kyrie Irving (primarily).

“For me, it did feel good to see the ball go in,” Thompson said. “More importantly, it felt good to get the win. I think tonight I was just in a good rhythm. It started with getting to the basket early and taking good shots. If I do that, it’ll all even out.”

Oracle Arena was never louder Sunday night than when Thompson hit shots, it felt like the entire Bay Area was hanging on the outcome of his attempts. (To be fair, the one thing that was as loud was the ovation for Steve Kerr’s return to the bench.) Thompson had averaged 29 percent shooting over the five games leading up to Sunday, but in Game 2 he was 8-of-12 and hitting from everywhere. Check out his shot chart.

His 22 points in Game 2 mattered, but still not as much as his defense — that has been his contribution this series. Irving has struggled through two games and not been efficient, and a lot of that is due to Thompson.

Thompson also just looked more comfortable Sunday night with the pace of the game.

“I think they were trying to play small with us and maybe trying to get the pace up with us,” Thompson said of the Cavaliers in Game 2 “I don’t think they made that many adjustments, though. They forced us to turn the ball over more, which we can’t do. That’s about it, I think.”

Not that he looked that uncomfortable through the slump. Thompson has the mindset of a shooter, that no matter what the next shot is going in. He may have forced some twos trying to get going, but he’s not worried about that. He has a focus learned from his father — Mychal, the former No. 1 pick and Showtime Laker — that if his shot’s not falling he has to contribute elsewhere. He has.

Thompson’s play is part of the Warriors’ versatility that the Cavaliers simply have not been able to match. He’s not just a catch-and-shoot guy from three, he can handle the ball and run the break, he can put the ball on the floor and get to the rim, and he’s also key to a very stout defense.

Which is why the Cavaliers need to be worried, they don’t have players who can match up. And if Thompson’s shot is falling like it did in Game 2 there may be no answer.

Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan fined $15,000 for criticizing referees

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The Raptors lost to the Warriors on Saturday, and DeMar DeRozan – despite his own brilliant performance – was irked.

The Toronto guard seemed particularly upset about a review of an out-of-bounds call in the final seconds. After initially giving the ball to the Raptors, officials said it touched DeRozan while he was out of bounds and granted Golden State possession:

The NBA’s replay guidelines say (emphasis mine): “Referees can only initiate a review on a called out-of-bounds play (for example, not one where an out-of-bounds might have occurred) and only those involving doubt as to which player caused the ball to go out (not those, for example, where a player stepped on the line).”

DeRozan

I mean, it’s frustrating being out there feeling like you playing 5-on-8. It’s just what it feel like, period. Some of them calls was terrible, period.

I thought you couldn’t even do that. I’m not even a referee, and I know that rule. So, somebody correct me if I’m wrong.

The NBA corrected him in the two-minute report, saying “After communicating with the Replay Center, the ruling on the floor of Raptors possession is overturned and the Warriors are awarded possession because the ball touches DeRozan’s (TOR) leg while his body is out of bounds before Curry (GSW) knocks the ball out. Referees were able to review two aspects of this out-of-bounds play since they were part of the same sequence.”

Then, the league fined him.

NBA release:

Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan has been fined $15,000 for public criticism of the officiating, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The comments were made following the Raptors’ 127-125 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, Jan. 13

Saying “5-on-8” seems to be a secret code word for getting fined. I’m not sure whether the rest of DeRozan’s comments would have gotten him fined, but that phrase almost certainly did him in.

Kyle Lowry on plan to meet Ben Simmons after ejections: ‘Put it this way, I was back there’

AP Photo/Rich Schultz
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As Kyle Lowry and Ben Simmons were ejected late in the 76ers’ win over the Raptors yesterday, the players appeared to challenge each other to meet in back.

Lowry eagerly left the court and headed through the tunnel. Simmons appeared much more reluctant at that point.

Despite a report of a confrontation in the hallway, Simmons said nothing escalated, as he went to his locker room.

Michael Grange of Sportsnet

TKO.

Warriors complained of no hot water in showers in Cleveland

Michael Hickey/Getty Images
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The Cavaliers are clearly frustrated.

Did someone in Cleveland take out that frustration on the Warriors after they beat the Cavs last night?

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

Players were complaining about there being no hot water in the visiting locker room showers. When they walked in, they could be heard screaming in discomfort. Most of the players emerged shivering from taking a quick wash-off.

“Man, they got to do something in ‘The Q.’ Somebody call Bron!” Kevin Durant yelled, referring to LeBron James.

No one seemed angry; the situation was more humorous.

That’s the right approach. Whenever the hot water is out in a visiting locker room, the finger is pointed at the home team for sabotage. Sometimes, heating systems just fail.

Giannis Antetokounmpo assists fastbreak dunk with football-style long snap (video)

AP Photo/Nick Wass
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Giannis Antetokounmpo is scoring more in the post, the basketball analogue of football’s trenches.

Apparently, he’s taking the comparison to the next level.

In the Bucks’ win over the Wizards yesterday, Antetokounmpo played the part of a long-snapping center to set up Khris Middleton in transition.

NBC Sports Washington: