SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Klay Thompson's fourth-quarter flurry brought back memories of so many other scoring bursts on his impressive list of them.
He flexed. He snarled. Vintage Klay.
"We needed it," Stephen Curry said. "... I know he didn't have much going before that run. That's Klay."
Thompson scored 10 straight during a key fourth-quarter stretch and finished with 22 points, Curry had 26 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, and the undermanned Golden State Warriors held off the Los Angeles Clippers 120-114 on Thursday night.
“It felt like the game rewarded him for just continuing to fight and not worrying about anything. He kept shooting and the ball kind of bounced his way,” coach Steve Kerr said of Thompson. “That’s the Klay that I expect really the rest of the year."
The Splash Brothers delivered for the Warriors, who lost guards Chris Paul and Gary Payton II to injuries during a 124-123 loss Tuesday night at Sacramento, when they blew a 24-point lead in the In-Season Tournament to miss advancing out of Group C. Forward Andrew Wiggins slammed his right index finger in a car door earlier Thursday and also couldn't play.
“That felt so good, because at times I feel like I’ve been pressing,” Thompson said. “I obviously want to make every shot I take. I wish basketball was that easy but I’m proud of myself. Even though I went 2 for 12 or whatever, I was not getting discouraged.”
Golden State led by as many as 18 in the first half of this one and held onto it this time despite Paul George's hot hand late. George's jumper with 10:41 left cut the Warriors' advantage to 89-81, then Thompson took over before the Clippers closed within five on a 3-pointer by James Harden with 4:32 remaining.
Kawhi Leonard had 23 points and seven rebounds for Los Angeles, while Harden scored 18 with seven assists. George contributed 15 points and 10 assists.
The teams meet again Saturday in Los Angeles.
Curry didn't put up his first attempt until making a 3-pointer with 4:23 left in the first. He connected again from long range the next time down, then committed a foul on Russell Westbrook and was called for his first technical of the season after arguing. It was the 26th career technical for the two-time MVP and his first since Jan. 25, 2023, in the fourth quarter against Memphis, according to Elias.
Draymond Green had 13 points, five rebounds and five assists in the first meeting between the California rivals this season, with the Warriors having won the last six at home. The Clippers haven't won in the Bay Area since a 108-101 victory on Jan. 6, 2021.
Thompson's teammates tell him to keep shooting - not that he really needs such reminding.
“His confidence never wavers,” rookie Brandin Podziemski said.
Paul is sidelined by a nerve contusion in his lower left leg and sat out his first game of the season, while Payton has now missed five games and this time because of a strained right calf. He is slated to be re-evaluated in a week. MRI exams showed neither player sustained structural damage.
The Warriors had some fun with the date: 11/30/23 to play off the jersey numbers of Thompson, Curry and Green. A mural of the three stars showed in the press conference behind the podium.
“I’m forever in these guys’ debt, forever,” Kerr said, glancing at the art he called beautiful. "The good fortune of taking this job, my first job in the NBA as a coach, to get to coach these guys for a decade. I mean it doesn’t happen often. So I’m just extremely fortunate and not just for the success but for the relationships we’ve built with all three of them. I love all three guys, it’s been an amazing decade, and we’re still together, it’s pretty remarkable.”
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