The Golden State Warriors made sure to avoid embarrassment on Friday night, defending home court against the Houston Rockets in a 116-101 victory.
Things looked worrisome early for the Warriors early, when the Rockets jumped out to a 12-5 lead. After all, Golden State has had plenty of underwhelming performances this season, and on the second half of a back-to-back, a loss to a cellar dweller like the Rockets was far from out of the question.
Luckily for Dub Nation, Klay Thompson made sure that was not going to happen. Thompson scored 7 points in the first quarter and helped the Warriors tie things up at 26. Then, Golden State started the second quarter on a 18-5 run and never looked back.
The Rockets prevented the Warriors from fully putting the game away until the final few minutes of the fourth quarter, but they also never cut their deficit to fewer than 8 points. And when they did, Patrick Baldwin Jr. immediately answered with a three, and a barrage from Thompson early in the fourth put the game out of reach.
Steph Curry’s absence obviously saps a lot of the Warriors offensive potential, but Klay remains one of the hottest microwave scorers in the NBA. Against a lackluster defense like the Rockets, with role players like Donte DiVincenzo and Patrick Baldwin Jr. knocking down threes, Thompson was unstoppable.
Klay finished the game with 42 points on 12-for-19 shooting from the field. All of his made field goals were three-pointers. He also added 7 rebounds and finished with a game-high +32 plus/minus.
DiVincenzo and Jordan Poole briefly took over the game at points on Friday, both finishing with 15 points. Poole also had 8 assists. Kevon Looney had a game-high 13 rebounds. Baldwin led Warriors' bench scorers with 11 points.
While the Rockets are from top-tier competition, the fact that Baldwin gave the Warriors some solid rotation minutes is a promising sign for the young big. The Warriors fringey frontcourt depth leaves plenty of minutes to potentially toss his way, and it was easy to see how his ability to space the floor made things easier for the other shooters.
Now 30-30, the Warriors will have one day off before they host the Timberwolves on Sunday. Opening tip is scheduled for 4:30 Pacific.