SAN ANTONIO -- Klay Thompson is returning to the site of his best game as a pro. In Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals last spring, in a game the Warriors had to have, Thompson put on the performance of his life at the AT&T Center.
He had 34 points and 14 rebounds as the Warriors tied the series by winning in San Antonio for the first time since 1997.
So Friday should be a welcomed trip down memory lane, right?
"It's over," Thompson said. "Gotta put that in the past. Hopefully there's many more to come."
Oh, OK. So that's how the Warriors are playing this. They're going with the just-another-game approach.
Friday's matchup against the host San Antonio Spurs is merely one of 82. Not a rematch of the playoff clash in May. Not a chance at revenge against the team that ended their dream run by taking the series in six games.
"Just two good basketball teams meeting early on in the season," coach Mark Jackson said.
Perhaps the relief from Stephen Curry's MRI trumps the excitement of another showdown with the Spurs.
It turns out Curry did not sprain his ankle after all. Instead, the exam revealed a bone bruise in his left ankle, which was the initial diagnosis before it was deemed a sprain after Wednesday's game at Minnesota. He is still day-to-day, but the instability that comes with ankle sprains is no longer a concern.
Curry didn't practice Thursday. Whether he plays Friday will be determined on game day. Like Thompson, Curry opted for the business-as-usual tone.
"Most of the players are the same," he said, "but it's a different year."
Maybe the Warriors aren't hyped about another crack at the West power because they're too hyped about the return of Harrison Barnes.
The second-year forward made his season debut in Wednesday's victory. He looked like he's ready to become the star everyone's expecting.
You could hardly tell he was playing his first game in a month, thanks to an inflamed left toe. And you wouldn't know that was his first career game off the bench. But his knack for scoring and athleticism jumped off the screen, just as it did during his breakout playoff performances.
If the win over the Timberwolves was any indication, Barnes might be a game-changer off the bench, and his new reserve role hasn't hurt his confidence.
"I mean, we're all about winning here," said Barnes. "So guys worrying about their roles, guys worrying about their numbers, we just don't do that here. I don't know how other teams do it, but here we're all about winning. Coach Jackson, that's what he believes in first and foremost, and that's what we as players embody. It's about winning."
The Warriors' vocal indifference about the toughest game on this four-game trip could be all hogwash.
They could be amped about the statement a win would make, eager to prove they were the better team last spring if not for the injuries, just masking it publicly. If so, they're good at masking.
Thursday's post-practice atmosphere was loose and playful.
Jackson was locked in a shooting contest with his staffers, while assistants Pete Myers and Lindsey Hunter took on Andre Iguodala in a free throw challenge. Curry, in a sweatsuit and socks, and Draymond Green shot 3-pointers with medicine balls. Thompson worked on hook shots he said he probably won't ever try in a game, and David Lee provided the usual hilarity while relaxing on the side.
Not exactly the intense, grave mood you'd expect on the eve of a "big" game. Jackson said he'd like to think it's a sign of the growth of the franchise. The Warriors go about their business no matter who's on the schedule. Even if it is the team that ended their season.
The ol' act-like-you've-been-there philosophy.
"We'd be lying if we denied the fact that things are different," Jackson said. "It's a compliment, and it's reality. ... You win in this league practicing habits, teaching habits, holding guys accountable to the habits, and then, more importantly, with talented and committed guys. We have those two most important factors on this basketball team."
GETTY IMAGES archives
Klay Thompson came up big vs. Tim Duncan and the Spurs in Game 2 but says, "Gotta put that in the past."
Warriors (4-1) at San Antonio (4-1), 5:30 p.m. CSNBA