The first quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Finals is going to be rusty after both teams have been off for more than a week. It’s just another reason the league will regret that start date.
However, Warriors are fine with that start date — they got Kay Thompson back.
He was officially cleared to play in Game 1 Thursday after passing the NBA’s concussion protocol.
Thompson suffered a concussion in Game 5 against the Rockets after an inadvertent knee to his head from Trevor Ariza. If the Warriors had continued on in that series he would have missed time, but the length break in the schedule paid off for him.
This was expected, Thompson went through a three-hour practice and workout Monday and reportedly showed no ill effects.
Having him in the lineup is huge for the Warriors. First, the Warriors were +18.2 points per 48 minutes when Thompson and Curry were paired in the regular season, and they are +10.5 in the postseason. Thompson is a quality perimeter defender (who will likely draw considerable time on Kyrie Irving this series). Plus, he and Curry make it difficult to match up with the Warriors for the Cavs if Irving isn’t 100 percent — either of them will be able to create space and get looks.
Plus, when Curry sits, Thompson can take over, remember he had a 37-point quarter this season.