Klay Thompson erupts with 60-point outburst

Through three quarters, the scoring broke down like this: 17 in the first, 23 in the second, and 20 in the third — by Klay Thompson alone.

Thompson soared to a new career high Monday night, pouring in 60 points in just 29 minutes in a 142-106 merciless mauling of the Indiana Pacers.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Warriors’ locker room at Oracle Arena.

Thompson said that while he wanted to play in the fourth, he didn’t ask Steve Kerr to go back in:

“It’s just unfortunate, the two times I get a career high I didn’t get to play in the fourth quarter… I think I could have [gotten 80], maybe one day I’ll have to opportunity but 60 in 29 minutes is not too bad. I’m satisfied with that.”

He might have wanted more minutes but in sitting out the fourth Thompson became the first player in the shot clock era to score 60 points in fewer than 30 minutes played.

That’s a record that Stephen Curry thinks is safe:

“That’s a feat that I put money on will probably never be touched ever again in the history of basketball. It was just so much fun to watch, we appreciated that entertainment value as his teammates just to see what he was able to do tonight. It was crazy.”

It was the Klay Thompson show early and often, and ended with the Oracle crowd serenading him with chants of “Klay,” as the swingman exploded for an NBA season high for points on an ultra-efficient 33 shots. What made Thompson’s outburst even more ridiculous was that he had a handful of open shots rattle out.

A fact that wasn’t lost on Kevin Durant:

“He should have had 80 to be honest. All 6 threes he missed were probably open, and he missed a free throw and got his layup blocked. We talked about it on the bench, he said he should have had 70 but I said he should have had 80 plus.”

He was guarded almost exclusively by former Warrior Monta Ellis, who Oracle was happy to see again. Judging by his night, so was Thompson.

Aside from Thompson, it was another ho-hum night for the rest of the Warriors. Draymond Green continued to dole out assists like a point guard; he had 10 more tonight in 27 minutes and has averaged 9.8 assists per game since missing the Timberwolves game with an ankle injury.

Durant scored 20 points in 22 minutes and Curry had 13 points and 11 assists. Those numbers may seem eye-popping, but for this team, it’s just mundane.

And this isn’t a team that understands that it won’t be there night every night Steve Kerr said:

“You look at the box score, Steph has 10 field goal attempts tonight, he doesn’t care. He’s not in there calculating his numbers and some players would be.”

This was just a game after Durant took only seven shots. But while the number totals may seem ordinary, the highlight of the night as possibly year was anything but.

Curry said Draymond set up that whole play even before the tip:

“Draymond gave me a head nod right before the tip because the way we were positioned I had a little head start. Draymond threw it and I was trying to track it down and once I saw it, I saw the ball and KD in the same kind of view. I thought I threw it too high once I let it go. It was a really cool play, the chemistry from when Draymond gave me the head nod to when KD finished the play.”

The first time these two teams met, the Pacers were without Paul George, C.J. Miles and Myles Turner. They were all on the court tonight, but it made absolutely zero difference as the Warriors controlled this game from the jump.

Warriors had 15 assists in just the first quarter and ended the first half with a 25-to-1 assist to turnover ratio. They finished with another 40-assist night — totaling 43 — and continue to show the dominant ball movement that everyone expected to see.

Kerr said that the way this team pulls for each other is indicative of how unselfish this team is:

“What’s really gratifying as a coach is to see that type of unselfishness. Steph was on the bench and he was like 1-5 with 3 points at the time and he was the happiest guy in the building when Klay was going nuts. Same with KD. They take a lot of joy in each other’s success.”

And with that type of ball movement it stands to reason that there would be a different Warrior making headlines every night — and tonight it was all about Thompson.

Up Next

The Warrior say goodbye to Oracle for 10 days as they take on their longest road trip of the season thus far, five games, starting with a matchup with their division rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday.

Notes

Another sellout Oracle crowd got to see Thompson’s historic night, marking their 200th-straight sellout, a streak that started before Steve Kerr became head coach. … Thompson joined Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry and Joe Fulks as the only Warriors to hit 60 points in a game. … Thompson is also the first Warriors player to score 60 in nearly 43 years, with Rick Barry being the last one in 1974. …Finally Thompson is the seventh Warrior in franchise history to record multiple 50-point games in his career.


Curtis Uemura is SFBay’s Golden State Warriors beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @CUemura on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Warriors basketball.