Klay proves his worth in Warriors home opener

ORACLE ARENA — Fans attending the Warriors home opener certainly got their money’s worth.

The lights, music, fire, fanfare and entertainment that comes with the first home game of the season was nothing compared to the offensive showdown between Kobe Bryant and the Klay Thompson.

In the end, the Warriors came out on top 127-104. The loss dropped the Lakers to 0-4 to start their season, a franchise worst for the team since moving to L.A.

Doing everything in his power to prove father time wrong, Bryant flipped up impossible circus shots, hit classic Kobe-like shots — the kind only he can sink — and brought the sizable amount of Laker fans to their feet over and over.

Thompson inked a multi-year contract extension with the Warriors Friday, and Saturday at Oracle did everything short of blow the roof off the building. His performance left no doubt in anyone’s mind that he was fully worth the max deal the Warriors gave him.

Thompson told SFBay that with the contract extension and then a huge win at home, the last couple days have been amazing:

“To say the least. It’s been a pretty great time … it’s always fun to play the Lakers and I always embrace the challenge of going against Kobe.”

Things started heating up in the third quarter with a back and forth battle between Bryant and Thompson, scoring 19 and 15 respectively in the quarter.

Trying to do anything he could to put Bryant off his game, Thompson found himself in awe as he watched the Black Mamba defy age:

“He’s not just another guy, he’s Kobe Bryant. I just tried to focus and embrace the moment because who knows how much longer he’ll be playing. He’s a legend.”

But Thompson never lost steam, had a double-digit scoring fourth quarter and finished the night with a career high 41 points, complimented by his fellow Splash Brother Stephen Curry‘s 31 points and 10 assists.

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told SFBay that Thompson is as good as it gets offensively and that its exciting to think about how much better he can get with time:

“He’s obviously incredibly skilled, its just game management, picking your spots, leadership and growing into a role that he will eventually grow into. He’s still a very young player and he’s still emerging.”

Bryant finished the night with a team-high 28 points in 36 minutes but also tallied seven costly turnovers.

The Warriors play in Portland on Sunday to finish their first back-to-back of the season, then rest until Wednesday when they face the Clippers at Oracle Arena.

Notes

Golden State went on a 25-4 run in the second quarter that included a 14-0 spurt over the span of 2:04, which turned a 10-point deficit into a four-point advantage. … Klay Thompson, who scored his previous career-high of 38 points in last season’s home opener against the Lakers, set a new career mark with 41 points. … Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined to score 72 points marking the first time the Warriors’ starting backcourt has combined for at least that amount in a non-overtime contest since 4/14/10. … David Lee missed his second consecutive game with a left hamstring strain.


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