Warriors’ Klay Thompson showed why he deserves more All-Star votes in torching Lakers with NBA-record 3-point barrage
Thompson made his first 10 3-pointers, an NBA record, en route to 44 points on 10-for-11 from downtown — and 17-of-20 overall — as the Warriors throttled the Lakers, 130-111, for their eighth straight win and 10th in their last 11 games.
When Thompson gets this hot, he’s the best shooter on the planet. After scoring 21 points in the first half, Thompson entered full nuclear mode coming out of the locker room for the second half, posting 12 points in the first three minutes of the third quarter. At one point he had 23 points in the third while the Lakers had 20 as a team. Thompson finished with 23 points in the quarter on just nine shots — 7-of-8 from 3. Halfway through the quarter the Warriors were just toying with the Lakers, passing up shots all over the place to feed Klay the ball. After that, the layup drill started for everyone else as the Lakers didn’t know which way to turn.
Look at these third-quarter numbers:
Thompson’s ice-cold start to the season was well documented, but his heating up of late hasn’t been covered as much. Including Monday’s barrage, Thompson is averaging 26 points while shooting 51 percent from 3 over his last 11 games. If you thought Klay’s cold streak was going to last all season, you haven’t watched him play much. A streak like this was inevitable, and it’s no coincidence that it has lined up almost directly with the Warriors’ first real dominant run as a team this season.
You can pretty much pencil in Steph Curry and Kevin Durant for their points; it’s when Klay gets going that Golden State becomes truly impossible to deal with — probably the three best shooters in the world, all things considered, firing at once on the same team. And now you add Cousins into the mix? Come on, man.
Speaking of Cousins, his second game back after a terrific debut felt far more subdued because he wasn’t drilling 3s all over the place, but he quietly tallied eight points, nine rebounds and five assists. True to Steve Kerr’s word, the Warriors are not slowing down for Cousins, and so far he looks perfectly happy to do his damage within the system — very few iso post-ups, a lot of hot-potato passing and screen-setting on the perimeter. He’s even running ahead in transition as the first guy down the floor for dunks.
Think this this little experiment is working?
Back to Thompson, who came into the Lakers game averaging just under 22 points per game on 45 percent shooting and just under 37 percent from 3 (how’s that for a down year?): Do we have to start talking about him again as a potential All-Star? I don’t think he gets in. LeBron James will take a Western slot that was available last year. Presumably, Nikola Jokic will too, while Luka Doncic’s fan vote could well push him into a spot. Without the fan vote (Thompson was fifth among West guards in the most recently released returns, with Doncic second in the West frontcourt), Doncic vs. Thompson would be a very interesting debate.
Either way, Thompson is back playing like an All-Star, and when that’s the case, the Warriors are as close to unbeatable as any team the NBA has ever seen.