Thompson torches Kings with 52-point explosion

ORACLE ARENA — Hours before the 2015 NBA All-Star starters were announced Thursday Warriors head coach Steve Kerr talked about Klay Thompson.

“Klay is going to be on the team. He has to be.”

Thompson was not named as a starter for the All-Star team.

Friday night, Thompson made history.

With just over nine minutes left in the third quarter against Sacramento, it was a tie game.

Then Thompson went on a rampage, scoring an NBA single-quarter record 37 points on a perfect 13-of-13 from the field including 9-of-9 from downtown (an NBA record for threes made in a quarter), in just 9:40.

After the game, Kerr said Thompson was other-worldly and reminiscent of Michael Jordan:

“I told Klay, I was one of the luckiest NBA players ever to play with Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, and David Robinson, some of the greatest players ever. As many spectacular things as Michael did, and he did nightly, I never saw him do that.”

With the All-Star reserves to be announced this coming Thursday, Thompson gave the league coaches every reason to submit his name — 52 reasons to be exact.

In the opening minutes of the final quarter, Thompson checked out of the game with a career-high 52 points, becoming just the 12th player in Warriors history to score 50 or more in a game.

Thompson said he wished he could go back and enjoy the moment over again because the best moments go by fast. He told SFBay being compared to Michael Jordan is something he never thought was possible:

“Just to be in the same breath as Michael Jordan … arguably the best to play the game, it’s crazy. For Steve to say something like that, gives me a lot of confidence and its really humbling. Man, its just awesome. I can’t sell it short. I’m on cloud nine right now.”

After Thompson made his first three shots of the third quarter, his teammates abandoned any and all play calling in order to feed the ball to Thompson, allowing him to take over.

The Golden State crowd and the Warriors bench, who were on their feet every time Thompson touched the ball, gave the fourth-year guard a standing ovation as he left the game.

Warriors teammate Stephen Curry swung his arms towards the crowd keeping them on their feet long after Thompson sat and after the game sat at his locker watching Thompson’s third quarter flurry on his phone. Curry told SFBay he would rewatch the onslaught at least 10 more times tonight:

“For him to do that is unbelievable. For him to do that in Oracle Arena, man it was fun. That’s something I know he’ll never forget but everybody in this locker room will be pretty proud to say we saw that, that night.”

Curry went on to say that Thompson being named a reserve for the All-Star team is pretty much a done deal:

“Even if tonight didn’t happen he still deserves that honor. This is just the exclamation point on his resume to show why he’s an All-Star caliber player. I’m looking forward to Thursday for it to become official. Tonight was his night.”

In his pre-game interview, Kerr said that Demarcus Cousins is one of the few players the Warriors need to create a game plan around.

The plan failed, as Cousins used his jumper to score at will, finishing the night with 28 points. But the plan wasn’t needed, after Thompson’s third quarter firestorm gave the Warriors a 97-73 lead.

In the fourth quarter, Marreese Speights scored 15 points as Golden State ran away with the game for a final of 126-101.

Thompson finished the night with 52 points on 16-of-25 from the field, 11-of-15 from three, to go along with five assists, four steals and two blocked shots in just 32 minutes.

The Warriors, now 35-6 with 18 consecutive home wins, continue their five-game home stand Sunday against the 15-26 Boston Celtics.

Notes

Klay Thompson’s 37 points set a new NBA record for most point in the third quarter and surpasses the Warriors’ previous franchise-high of Wilt Chamberlain’s 31 points in the fourth on March 2, 1962 (the game Chamberlain scored an NBA-record 100 points). … Thompson’s 11 threes in a game is a single season NBA-high this season. … Golden State matched its franchise record for wins before the All-Star break with its 35th win of the season, a mark the team previously set in 1975-76 with a 35-13 record going into the break. … Golden State is the 10th team in NBA history to begin a season with 35 wins in its first 41 games.


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