The Golden State Warriors may have got an important win over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, yet much of the post-game storylines surrounded Klay Thompson after another below-par performance from the veteran sharpshooter.
Following a disappointing 4-of-19 shooting performance against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday, Thompson went scored just eight points on 4-of-9 shooting in the Warriors' 109-98 victory at Barclays Center.
Draymond Green provided a blunt response amid speculation regarding Klay Thompson's place in the Golden State Warriors' closing lineup
Thompson was less erratic with his shot-selection and decision-making against the Nets in a game largely bereft of quality three-point shooting. The 33-year-old did add six rebounds, three assists and two steals, but it wasn't enough to be a part of the closing lineup as Golden State got an important win.
The five-time All-Star also failed to close in Friday's win over the Memphis Grizzlies, with rookie guard Brandin Podziemski preferred alongside Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga and Draymond Green.
However, that was less notable than Monday's outing where young forward Gui Santos, essentially the last player on the Warriors' fully-contracted roster, finished the game ahead of the franchise legend.
While he acknowledged the performances of Santos, Podziemski and Kuminga (all of whom closed), and the fact "winning trumps all", Thompson was visibly frustrated after a third-straight lacklustre performance in four days.
In typical fashion, Green chimed into the post-game discussion by stating, "I didn't close Game 5 of the Finals... Who the f**k cares?" It was a blunt response from the outspoken star, and perhaps one that his long-time teammate needed to hear.
Thompson has been far from his usual self this season, with his body language a regular talking point amid he and Golden State's struggles. Not only is he no longer the perimeter defender he once was, but Thompson's also taking more of a back-seat role in the Warrior offense.
Kuminga's recent emergence has catapulted him to the team's second scoring option, with he and Curry combining for 57 points in the win, including 21 of the team's 34 in the fourth-quarter. More and more plays are being run for the third-year forward as an isolation/post-up scorer, reducing Thompson's chances of spot-up catch-and-shoot opportunities that have helped define his glittering career.
Lurking in the background is Thompson's impending free agency, with the four-time champion rightfully looking for what will probably be his last significant contract. Yet if winning does truly trump all, can Thompson put aside his personal goals for the good of the team?