Klay con­jures 29 min­utes of shoot­ing magic

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS in Oakland, Cal­i­for­nia

Klay Thomp­son wanted one more quar­ter on Mon­day night.

He wanted to score 80 points — and thinks he ab­so­lutely could have.

That’s hard to ar­gue af­ter Thomp­son notched 60 points in 29 head-shak­ing, jaw­drop­ping, de­fense-break­ing min­utes.

He had an NBA sea­son­high and ca­reer-best per­for­mance for the high­estscor­ing out­put by a Golden State player in more than 42 years as the War­riors whipped the In­di­ana Pac­ers 142-106.

“Who knows? I know he would have kept shoot­ing,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Klay’s never go­ing to stop shoot­ing.”

Thomp­son raised his arms to en­cour­age more of those steady “Klay! Klay! Klay!” chants, then let it fly again and again.

He had 60 through three and called it a night, sit­ting down with 1:22 left in the pe­riod as fans jumped to their feet for an ex­tended stand­ing ova­tion.

“It’s just un­for­tu­nate that the two times I got my ca­reer high I didn’t get to play the last quar­ter,” Thomp­son said.

He scored 40 by half­time in just 18-plus min­utes. Nearly two years ago, Thomp­son had a 37-point quar­ter on the way to 52 points against Sacra­mento.

Thomp­son joined Hall of Famers Wilt Cham­ber­lain, Rick Barry and Joe Fulks as the only War­riors to score 60 points.

Barry was the last to do so, go­ing off for 64 on March 26, 1974, against Port­land.

Now, Thomp­son hopes he gets a chance to go for more.

“Maybe. I think I could have. Maybe one day I’ll have the op­por­tu­nity,” he said, “But 60 points in 29 min­utes is not too bad.”

Thomp­son shot 21 for 33 and 8 of 14 on 3-poin­t­ers — 15 of 22 with five 3s in the first two quar­ters — and con­verted 10 of 11 free throws in 29 min­utes.

When he knocked down a turnaround base­line 3 un­der pres­sure mid­way through the sec­ond quar­ter right in front of a rest­ing Stephen Curry on the bench, the shot sent the reign­ing MVP into a tun­nel­dash­ing frenzy of de­light.

“That’s a feat I put money on will prob­a­bly never be touched ever again in the his­tory of bas­ket­ball,” Curry said.

Pre­vi­ously this sea­son, the high­est scor­ers were Ok­laho- ma City’s Russell West­brook with 51 in an over­time game and An­thony Davis with 50 in reg­u­la­tion for the Pel­i­cans.

“I felt every shot I took was a good shot,” Thomp­son said.

Kevin Du­rant added 20 points, eight re­bounds, four as­sists and two blocks for Golden State in an­other dis­play of im­pres­sive pass­ing.

The War­riors’ 15 first-quar­ter as­sists matched a fran­chise record done twice pre­vi­ously and they wound up with 45 to­tal — two off the fran­chise record set on Nov 24 against the Lak­ers.

In one sen­sa­tional thirdquar­ter play wor­thy of the high­light reel, Thomp­son had no part. Off a jump ball, Dray­mond Green hit Curry with a long heave and Curry made a leap­ing, one-touch pass to Du­rant for a daz­zling al­ley­oop. Curry had 13 points and 11 as­sists.

Thomp­son scored 17 points in just un­der nine min­utes to be­gin the game and Golden State had 15 as­sists on its ini­tial 17 bas­kets and led 38-27 af­ter the first quar­ter.

AP

Golden State’s Klay Thomp­son lays up a shot dur­ing his 60-point per­for­mance against the In­di­ana Pac­ers on Mon­day night.

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