Golden State Warriors

Klay Thompson scores 37 points in third quarter, might be a non-Washington wizard

Klay Thompson

I’ve watched a lot of basketball in my life. You’ve watched a lot of basketball in your life. Anyone reading this post, late on a Friday night, loves basketball. None of us have ever seen anything like what Klay Thompson did in the third quarter against the Kings, because it’s never been done before.

Thompson scored 37 points in the third quarter. No, really. Here’s the stat sheet that probably made Thompson stare blankly and say, “WHOA” in his best Keanu Reeves voice.

Klay Thompson 37 points third quarter

That has never been done before by anyone in the history of the NBA. And that’s not a record for points in a third quarter, it’s a record for points in ANY quarter. And he didn’t beat out a 36-point quarter from Wilt Chamberlain or Michael Jordan — the previous record was 33 points in a quarter, which was held by George Gervin and Carmelo Anthony. Thompson just obliterated the idea of what a player could possibly do in a quarter.

Remember how ridiculous it was when Kevin Durant dropped 30 on the Warriors in a half? This was done in 12 minutes.

Klay finished with 52 points, and the Warriors beat the Kings 126-101 in a game where the Kings led 64-63 about four and a half minutes into that historic third quarter. The Warriors have turned close games into 20-point leads in so many ways this year, but this one took the cake and the pie.

He made shots from everywhere in the arena besides the visiting locker room. He made nine threes in the third quarter. It didn’t matter which way he was facing when he went up in the air, by the time the ball left his fingertips it was right on line.

“Every time I touched it, I was going to shoot it,” Thompson told CSN Bay Area’s Rosalyn Gold-Onwude. Thompson seemed like he was still on a cloud during that interview, floating through the rafters at Oracle with that familiar squinty-eyed grin. At the press conference podium, Thompson raised his interview game to the same level his offensive game soared to in the third quarter.

“In elementary school I had, like 50,” he said. “I was in fourth grade. I was playing with some third graders, too. That is honestly the last time I’ve ever gone on a scoring barrage like that.”

Well I’ll be …

Klay Thompson Harry Potter Scar

So Klay’s epic January continues: 26.7 ppg in 29.8 mpg on 54.3% shooting, 54.1% on threes while making 4.2 threes per game.

The debate about the best backcourt in basketball now begins and ends with Curry and Thompson, who may surpass Curry as a pure shooter if their careers keep going at this trajectory. Curry is still the league MVP, despite a six-turnover night, and he’s the guy who draws multiple defenders and leads the team in every way. His offensive game is probably the league’s most versatile.

But holy hell, Thompson is skipping an important step here. He was supposed to go from “good player” to “star,” right? He’s already moved on to “superstar.” At the rate Thompson’s game is growing, teams are going to push harder than before to get their young players with high ceilings on Team USA in future summers.

Thompson is actually the perfect guy to turn his own hot hand into something memorable like this. He’s a tunnel-vision guy. All we know about him is that he works his ass off on the court between games and loves his dog. He’s a guy who’ll take a three just two seconds into the shot clock on a night when he’s 0-for-7 from the field. It takes a special player to get that hot and not think, “Damn, I’m on fire. I wonder (1) how many points I have, (2) can I keep this up, (3) what the people who are watching this are thinking.” 

Dub Steps

— The craziest shot he hit was the one in front of the Kings bench, when Stephen Curry flipped him the ball and Thompson just kind of flung it at the hoop and hoped. 

— This wasn’t just a three-point exhibition either. Thompson started his historic quarter with a 12-foot jumper in the key. Then he hit the first two of his nine three-pointers in the quarter. Thompson slacked off for a bit, not scoring for over a minute, then he grabbed Curry’s lob pass with one hand and slammed it down to give the Warriors a four-point lead with six minutes to go in the quarter. 

Then he hit three three-pointers in a row. 

— What? The game? OK, fine. The Warriors started fast, to the point where it looked like we were on a way to an evening that would turn out similarly to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day rout against the Nuggets. Then Golden State proved themselves to be human for the rest of the first half and the first few minutes of the third quarter. The defense sagged back, the turnovers popped up all too often, and the Warriors went cold from the three-point line for a while in the second quarter. The third quarter was a different story, as Curry (who had one of his worst nights of the season, despite 11 assists) started the scoring with two free throws. The Warriors scored 39 more points in that quarter. Thompson scored 37 of them, and had the assist on Draymond Green’s layup midway through the quarter.

— I had no idea that Mo Speights had 19 points in 21 minutes until I looked at the box score.

— Mychal Thompson probably enjoyed this even more than his son, even though Klay said he expected his dad to tell him that he should’ve gotten 60. 

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