Klay Thompson didn’t even play poorly against San Antonio. He was pretty good, actually — especially in the beginning, when he scored the Warriors’ first four points. He challenged Kawhi Leonard, which helped allow Stephen Curry and others to enjoy their Monday night a lot more than many observers thought they would.
Yet Thompson ended up with just 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting against the Spurs. Despite a solid overall effort, his was mostly forgotten in the wake of Curry’s 37 points, Draymond Green’s defense against LaMarcus Aldridge and Leonard, and several pivotal outings for reserves.
The Spurs followed their 30-point loss to the Warriors with a 31-point win over the Rockets on Wednesday night. They made a statement of sorts, one might say: they were not psychologically damaged by the Warriors (whether that’s true or not is anybody’s guess, and that guess can only be answered when these teams face each other in the playoffs). The Warriors made a statement of their own: this team has more than two All-Stars.
Thompson had another hot start against the Mavericks — who fell 127-107 to the Warriors — and kept it going. The result was one of the most steady, calm, not-at-all crazy 45-point outbursts … ever? He was like the basketball version of a Tom Emanski video. Pass, cut, catch, lay it in. Cut, catch, release, splash. Like the unconscious shooting guard version of Tim Duncan. When Thompson is driving, scoring and shooting like that, he’s the Little Fundamental.
His shooting numbers were absurd, and that’s saying something when we’re talking about a Warriors game. Thompson shot 70% (14-of-20) from the field, 58.3% (7-of-12) from three, and 10-of-10 from the line. Curry and Green combined for just three points in the first half, and the Mavericks kept it close until those two combined for 21 of Golden State’s 39 third quarter points, with Thompson finishing off the Mavericks with 14 more points in the fourth.
“Forgot About Dre,” the classic song from Chronic 2001, often gets referenced as “Forgot About Dray,” but “Forgot About Klay” seems to fit this team every few weeks, too. There are so many times when this team jumps off the court or through your TV screen, smacks you in the face, and you say/think, “This is just unfair.” Like when they defend the way they did through the first three quarters against the Spurs, or when Curry starts going behind his back on transition layups and hits shots from the edge of the halfcourt logo.
However, when Thompson starts making so many shots that Curry realizes it’s time to boost his assist total and leave the scoring for another evening, that might be when the task of beating the Warriors seems better suited for aliens.
— Curry went 4-for-11, ending up with 14 points, 9 assists, 3 steals … and a game-high +25.
— Green didn’t take a shot in the first half.
— Mark Cuban’s reaction to that three from Klay near the corner was this game’s everything.
Mark Cuban said bad word. pic.twitter.com/aVc0Jymkqz
— LOLKNBR (@LOLKNBR) January 28, 2016
— Kevon Looney made his debut! And he did a slow-mo crossover that freed him up against all-world defender (j/k for those with broken sarcasm detectors) Charlie Villanueva before rising up and nailing his first jumper in the NBA. According to Steve Kerr, Green gave Looney the game ball and forced him into making a postgame speech, which is just perfect. The best teams in sports (like the San Francisco Giants, who treat their rookies similarly) tease their first-year players while empowering them. There’s more than enough cockiness to go around in Golden State’s locker room, and their first-rounder (whom I didn’t expect to see this season) is going to be told by several veterans both why and how he can contribute to the best team in the world. Looney is 19. He’s got to be overwhelmed by all of this, but his veteran(s) will make sure he undergoes a seamless transition (before he goes back to Santa Cruz, anyway).
— The Warriors haven’t come close to losing since wearing sleeves in Detroit (coincidence?). They’re 42-4 (what!) and haven’t lost at home in a calendar year. They also shot 58% while committing just nine turnovers against the Mavs. Their defense wasn’t quite there in this contest against Dallas — which represented a letdown game after facing the Spurs and facing a Mavericks team without Dirk Nowitzki and Zaza Pachulia. However, whenever the Warriors are that efficient offensively and Thompson is scoring with such ease, Golden State will cruise every time (especially at home).