Klay credits teammates, Warriors system for historic 60-point night

Klay credits teammates, Warriors system for historic 60-point night

OAKLAND – Klay Thompson’s historic night was without pretense or secrets. No trickery, no gimmickry, no sleight-of-hand from him or the coaching staff or anyone else affiliated with the Warriors.

It was a fabulous shooter playing basic basketball at its finest, and it was easier to recognize this 14 hours after the fact.

“It’s the firepower we have on this team,” Thompson said Tuesday afternoon, in the wake of scoring 60 points Monday night as the Warriors routed Indiana.

[RELATED: Mychal Thompson's message to Klay: 'You should have had 70']

“You can’t really help off any of our guys,” the sixth-year guard added. “Everyone is capable of having a huge night. It’s also the system I play in, too. It’s constant motion, it’s free flowing, and I’m always on the move. It’s just tough on a defender. It wears you down having to chase around a guy for 40 minutes.”

The Pacers didn’t chase Thompson for 40 minutes. They didn’t have to. He did his damage in 29 minutes, leaving the Pacers with nothing but humiliating defeat and floor burns on their feet.

“It was an unbelievable performance that you really didn’t see coming until it happened,” teammate Stephen Curry said. “He started off the game hot, obviously, but to stay that consistent, getting it from the free throw line, the 3-point line, midrange, layups, it was an ultimate clinic.

“It was as entertaining to watch on the highlights after as it was live.”

Thompson ran and ran and ran, and the Pacers couldn’t keep up. Poor Monta Ellis had no chance. Thompson also annihilated Rodney Stuckey and C.J. Miles and even left premier defender Paul George – the last-chance Klay-stopper – clutching air.

It’s nearly impossible to cool a hot shooter when he doesn’t need the ball, and Thompson needed only 11 dribbles to get 60 points.

[RELATED: After Klay scored 60 points, Warriors owner Joe Lacob had one question]

“That’s amazing, 11 dribbles and 60 points,” coach Steve Kerr said.

Kerr noted that Thompson is at his best when playing off the ball, hence the phrase “off guard.” Thompson is a classic, in the mold of Ray Allen and a few others that rely on movement and shooting strokes from above.

“That’s been my MO since I’ve been in this league,” Thompson said. “To mimic guys like Reggie Miller, Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, Chris Mullin – guys who really use their teammates to set themselves up and did it for decades in this league.”

When Thompson’s skills are blended with those of point guard Stephen Curry as well as forwards Draymond Green and Kevin Durant – all of whom excellent playmakers, comfortable with the ball in their hands – it’s downright combustible.

“When you play with the group that Klay is playing with, the defense can’t exactly cheat,” Kerr explained. “It’s hard to cheat off Kevin or Steph, so it’s just a good mix. But there’s a level of confidence and maybe a lack of consciousness that Klay has that very few players possess. Once he gets going, he doesn’t seem to think and it benefits him pretty well.”

That’s the game reduced to its simplest level. Run, catch and shoot. Elemental, particularly when the shots are going in.
 

Are the 18-3 Warriors better than the Warrior teams of past two years?

Are the 18-3 Warriors better than the Warrior teams of past two years?

When the Golden State Warriors weren’t planet-eating this summer (re: signing Kevin Durant), they were doing some low-level whining about the narratives surrounding their team. Like “planet-eating.”

You know, that “you guys have a job to do” lefthanded compliment/commentary that lets us all know that their real nature would never be revealed by the bombardment of stories about how they had changed themselves, the nature of their business, the culture of American sport and Draymond Green’s wayward legs.

Or whatever.

[POOLE: Warriors first-quarter report card: Only two solid A's]

But now we’re a quarter into their season, and that seems as good a time to pander to the brand . . . err, examine who they really are in the one place where there is least debate. The floor.

So with the other two uber-Warrior teams as a comparison point, let us wallow in the shallow end.

THIS IS THE WORST TEAM: Their 21-game record is 18-3, which is three games worse than last year, and a game worse than 2014-2015. Math all you want, but 18 is less than 19 or 21. Plus, they didn’t even have the best record in the league for the first month of the season. Lesson? They changed too much.

THIS IS THE MOST DOMINANT TEAM: The current margin of victory per game is 14.04, down from 14.90 a year ago but up from the 11.19 of the title year. In another way, though, they are crushing teams with greater facility, with nine of their 18 wins coming by 20 or more points – as many as they have had in the last three years combined. Lesson: After the anticipated adjustment period, they’re figuring it out.

THIS IS THE MOST DETESTABLE TEAM: Winning the Durant sweepstakes was supposed to make them nationally loathed, the league’s new villain du jour, and maybe winning by 23, 26, 21, 24, 37, 43, 24, 29 and 36 sucks the joy out of an athletic contest, thereby making them even more hateable. Lesson? People will be weary of this.

THIS IS THE MOST ENJOYABLE TEAM: More of a qualitative argument, but every game promises more difficult-to-conceive moments than the one before. Monday night, Klay Thompson, whose shooting has been occasionally worrisome and who said in the offseason that he wouldn’t defer to any new pecking order, went for 60 in three quarters, and didn’t touch the ball on the most amazing play of the season so far – Zaza Pachulia wins a jump ball, tips to Draymond Green, who throws a home run ball to Stephen Curry who flips it high into the air for Kevin Durant to follow and slam. Eighty-five feet, no dribbles, and a GIF to keep your children quiet when you just want to enjoy a beer.

THIS IS THE MOST COHESIVE TEAM: After the expected fitful start, in which they managed to lose by 29 on Opening Night to San Antonio and 20 in Los Angeles (to the Lakers, no less) 11 days later, their assist-to-turnover ratio is an absurd 2.15 (32.4 assists, 14.9 turnovers), well up from 2015 (1.67) and 2016 (1.84). They are taking better care of the basketball, and are more active at sharing it.

THIS IS THE WORST DEFENSIVE TEAM: A lot happens to one’s defensive concentration when the opponent has been consumed by your offense, so this is a bit deceptive, but the raw numbers indicate that this team is living on points rather than points allowed. The defense rating has risen from 101.4 (first in 2015) to 104.7 (ninth now), for a team Steve Kerr has always touted for its devotion to the other end of the court, but the offense has gone from 110 (first) to 114.9 (first) to 118.2 (first).

THIS IS A HAPPY TEAM: They seem genuinely happy when one of theirs has a game (say, Thompson’s Monday night), and have either no agendas or have kept what agendas exist on the very downest of lows. In sum, lots of smiles, but if you can’t smile when you win games by an average of five threes per game, then you’re just a drag to be around. Unhappy happens with unhappy results. Plus, who can’t smile with Zaza Pachulia around? To quote a greater man about a greater man, “a certain magic still lingers in the very name.”

THIS IS A TEAM WITH INSUFFICIENT DRAMA PER COLUMN INCH/MINUTE OF VIDEO: Other than Green’s daily dance on the razor wire with the officials and Joe Lacob popping up from time to time as the FTD delivery man, what’s the problem? Do they run up scores? Do they dance a lot in victory? Are they overloved by the media? Underloved by the nation? Too girly basketball? Not girly basketball enough? Just the right amount of girly basketball? Frankly, most of the coverage strategy about this team falls under, “They exist, therefore we must record their existence.” The bulk of their drama comes with people saying things about them, and them contriving those things into a slight worthy of a motivational response. That’s not really drama in the classic, or even tabloid sense.

This differs from 2014-5, when they were the freshest item on the menu, and 2015-6, when . . . well, when they were a lot like they are now, only without Durant.

In short, 21 games in, the Warriors are better and worse and more dominant on offense and less consistently devoted on defense and more generous and less careless with the ball and about as likable or dislikable as we speculated they would be in October – because we’ve speculated about every possibility, and we’ll keep doping it because the beast is endlessly hungry and must be fed.
 

Instant Replay: Warriors' offense hits on all cylinders in win over Suns

Instant Replay: Warriors' offense hits on all cylinders in win over Suns

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND – Scorching the nets with a season-best 62.8-percent shooting, the Warriors rolled to a 138-109 rout of the Phoenix Suns before a sellout crowd Saturday night at Oracle Arena.

Five Warriors scored in double figures, led by Stephen Curry with 31 points. Klay Thompson poured in 26 points, Kevin Durant had 20, while David West and JaVale McGee came off the bench for 11 each, season highs for both.

Forwards Draymond Green and Durant had quietly monstrous games. Green put up nine points, a game-high 13 assists, five rebounds and three steals. In addition to his scoring, Durant also submitted eight assists, four rebounds and three blocks.

The Warriors (17-3) recorded 37 assists, the 14th time they have reached at least 30. No other team has done it more than four times.

Guards Eric Bledsoe (27 points) and Devin Booker (21) combined for 48 points to lead Phoenix (6-14) scorers.

STANDOUT PERFORMERS

This night belonged to many Warriors, but mostly to Curry and Thompson.

Curry’s line: 31 points (10-of-15 from the field, including 5-of-7 from deep, 6-of-6 from the line), two rebounds, two assists and a steal. He played 30 minutes and finished plus-15.

Thompson’s line: 26 points (10-of-17, 6-of-7), five rebounds, three assists and two steals. He played 34 minutes and was plus-24.

TURNING POINT

When the Suns took a 26-25 lead on an Alex Len dunk with 2:57 left in the first quarter, the Warriors responded with a 25-4 run that yielded a 48-30 lead with 9:25 remaining the second quarter.

When Phoenix battled back, getting as close as eight (68-60) early in the second half, the Warriors recovered with a 15-4 run to go up 19 (83-64) with 7:07 left in the third quarter.

The Suns drew no closer than 20 in the fourth quarter.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: No injuries listed. C Anderson Varejao was a healthy inactive. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the D-League.

Suns: F T.J. Warren (head injury) was listed as out. F Derrick Jones Jr. is on assignment with Northern Arizona of the D-League.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors return to action Monday night, when they face the Indiana Pacers at Oracle Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:40.