Wednesday night at Oracle would be the scene of a battle between two of the league’s best backcourts— Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson of the Warriors and Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors. While Curry scored 30 points including some clutch baskets as the Warriors came from behind in the final minutes to claim a 117-112 victory, Thompson had the more intriguing and complete performance.
The Warriors shooting guard started the game with a first quarter 3-pointer (not all that surprising) but coupled that with 3 assists (which was a bit more surprising). The Warriors roster is filled with outstanding passers— Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, David West—but it was Thompson leading the team in assists at the end of the first.
The second quarter was when Thompson made his mark on the game, particularly through his scoring. He sank his second 3-pointer of the night early in the quarter while also tallying his fourth assist on an outstanding interior pass to West.
Thompson having a big night shooting the basketball would not be all that much of a surprise. But seeing him make passes like these, getting the defenders out of the way so West would have a clear and easy dunk opportunity, is a new wrinkle in his game.
Thompson’s proficiency as a distributor did not go unnoticed by those covering Wednesday night’s game.
Klay has 4 assists already, the most he's had since Game 1 of the NBA Finals— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) October 26, 2017
Thompson helped the Warriors finish off the second quarter strong, scoring eight points in the final 5:30 while also grabbing two defensive rebounds. 3 of Thompson’s 16 points in the quarter came on this 3 to help send the Warriors in the locker room happy, holding an eight-point lead.
Thompson only scored two points in the third quarter, taking a Zaza Pachulia pass and getting two points on the layup.
While Thompson did not score as much in the third quarter as he did in the second, he continued to affect the game through his passing as well as his rebounding (grabbing two more in the quarter), making those watching wonder whether we might see a Klay Thompson triple-double, which has not happened yet in his seven year career.
Klay triple-double alert!?! He has 20-5-5 very early in the third quarter.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) October 26, 2017
Thompson, like the rest of the Warriors, struggled down the stretch, allowing the Raptors to not only get back into the game but hold a five-point lead with a little over two minutes left to go in the game. But Thompson came up with big contributions though, again surprisingly, not in the form of scoring. Thompson would grab a key defensive rebound off of a Jakob Poeltl miss that led to a Curry layup to cut the Raptors lead to three.
Then, with the Warriors up by three and just seconds remaining, Thompson came up with another defensive play to seal the win.
Thompson blocked Lowry’s shot, getting the ball back and sealing the game for the Warriors, who finished on a 10-0 run to claim the victory.
Thompson would finish with 22 points (going an efficient 4 for 6 from 3-point range) along with 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. While the Warriors needed all of those points to seal the victory over one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference (if not the league), Thompson’s points were also important for an even bigger reason.
With Thompson donating $1,000 for each point he scores during this three-game home stand to North Bay fire relief, his offensive contributions help not just his team but the community, one that is hurting right now. Knowing that Thompson’s big night not only helped the Warriors to a victory but also helped those in need made his performance against the Raptors just a little bit sweeter.
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