Rewind: Klay finally catches fire from deep, Warriors pound Mavs

Rewind: Klay finally catches fire from deep, Warriors pound Mavs

OAKLAND – This was a game the Warriors and their fans have been waiting to see -- Klay Thompson coming completely out of his deep freeze into the splash zone.

Thompson’s scorching first-quarter shooting Wednesday night launched the Warriors toward a tip-to-buzzer 116-95 victory over the Dallas Mavericks before a relieved sellout crowd (19,596) at Oracle Arena.

That the Warriors never trailed was largely because of Thompson’s early work, as he scored 18 of his 20 points while playing all 12 minutes of the first quarter.

Moreover, Thompson looked like the sharpshooter he is, draining his first seven shots, four of which were 3-pointers.

“It was good to see him get that 3-point stroke going,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He started out on fire. It didn’t carry over for the rest of the game, but he had a tremendous first quarter and you could see it coming. It’s absolutely coming with Klay.”

Though Thompson didn’t score in the second half, he appears to be free of the uncharacteristically poor long-distance shooting that hampered him through the first seven games, during which he shot 20.8 percent beyond the arc. For his career, Thompson is a 42-percent shooter from long distance.

“I feel like it’s coming every game, honestly,” said Thompson, ever confident.

“It’s what we expected and it’s going to continue as we go through the season,” Stephen Curry said of his backcourt partner. “Nobody’s really worried about Klay and him shooting the ball. That’s what he does. He wakes up and shoots the ball.”

Thompson had some early help from forward Draymond Green, who also had his best 3-point shooting game of the season, making four of the five he took before halftime. He finished with 16 points, 14 of which came in the first half.

The Warriors, having built a very comfortable 31-point halftime lead, once again fell victim to their own complacency against a Mavericks team without most of its rotation Dirk Nowitzki, Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews, Devin Harris, Jose Juan Barea and ex-Warrior Andrew Bogut all were unavailable.

With ex-Warrior Harrison Barnes and Stanford product Dwight Powell leading the way, Dallas outscored the Warriors 32-17 in the third quarter and got as close as 13 in the fourth.

“We let our guard down and came up and was just out there,” Green said.

“It’s a danger in the NBA, period,” Kerr said. “I’ve seen it with every team I’ve ever been on. If you’re up by 30 at the half, you let your guard down. The other team, even when they are sitting guys, they have great players too.”

Never were the Warriors truly threatened. Indeed, the worst thing that happened was Curry tweaking his right ankle early in the third quarter. He got re-taped, returned and showed no discernable limp.

“If there is any issue there, I won’t hesitate to sit him,” Kerr said, referring to Thursday night’s game at Denver.

Curry, for his part, said he expects to play.

“It’s just a little bruised,” he said. “I got back out there, so I’ll be fine.”

Even ankles seem a little less sore when the shots are falling as they did Wednesday night. The Warriors were 17-of-33 from deep, their best performance of the season. They shot a season-high 58.1 percent overall.

“The shots that we’ve gotten all season, we started knocking down,” said Kevin Durant, who posted a game-high 28 points. “Klay got his start and Steph picked us up in the third, when we weren’t as good, energy-wise, as we should have been.

“We kind of cruised from there. When you make shots, it makes everything better.”

No doubt. Ask Klay Thompson.

Steph Curry knows it comes with risk, but he's not going to change the way he plays


Steph Curry knows it comes with risk, but he's not going to change the way he plays

OAKLAND -- When he returns to the Warriors, likely on Friday, Stephen Curry will alter nothing about his game despite coming off a four-month period during which his surgically repaired right ankle endured multiple aggravations.

He’ll be the same Curry that fans have come to know, diving into passing lanes on defense while firing up 3-pointers and darting in and out of paint traffic on offense.

It’s the only way he knows how to play, and he’s played long enough to accept that it comes with risk.

“When I wake up in the morning I’ll know the difference between my right (ankle) and my left,” Curry said Thursday after practice. “But that won’t stop me from being who I am on the floor and having confidence in myself when I get back out there.”

Curry missed 11 games after spraining his ankle on Dec. 4 in New Orleans. He missed two games after tweaking it in shootaround on Jan 10. He missed no games after tweaking it March 2 in Atlanta. He has missed the last six games after tweaking it on March 8 against the Spurs.

“I’ve been very durable over the course of my career,” said Curry, who is listed as probable but fully expects to play Friday against Atlanta. “It’s just that I’ve had three untimely, freak accidents happen.”

Curry stepped on E’twaun Moore’s foot in New Orleans, on Zaza Pachulia’s foot in Atlanta and Dejounte Murray’s foot against the Spurs at Oracle Arena.

Not once in the previous five regular seasons did Curry miss significant time due to his tricky ankle. He missed a total of 16 games during that span, never more than four in a season, and six of those were for reasons of rest.

This season, however, has tested Curry’s patience like nothing since 2011-12, after which he had his second ankle surgery. He concedes that being in and out of the lineup has left him at times feeling “boredom, monotony and frustration.”

Though some of that can be attributed to the rehab process, there is no doubt part of that stems from watching the Warriors from the sideline.

With Curry out of the lineup this season, the Warriors are 13-8 (he missed one game with a hand bruise, another with a thigh bruise). That they are 40-10 when he’s in the lineup illustrates his importance.

It’s not just that he’s important. Curry is the catalyst for the offense and he can only be that if he is playing without regard for the possibility of injury. A hesitant Curry can’t be an effective Curry, so full throttle is the only way to go.

"If we’re trying to win a championship, I need to be out there,” he said. “That’s a given. We want every single guy out there, healthy and available, myself included. That’s the ideal situation.”

If he gets hurt along the way, so be it. As man of faith, he believes that anything that happens is influenced by a higher power.

“It doesn’t matter if I’m shooting 3s or pullups are going into the lane or playing defense, that’s liable to happen any time,” Curry said. “Other than those instances, I haven’t had anything to worry about on the injury front. We are prisoners of the moment when it comes (playing the game). I don’t feel like I’m at a point where I have to change anything based on me being a durable player and being on the court consistently.

“Down the line, if you ask me about it in three of four years, there might be something I might need to change. But not right now.”

There is a segment of fans, worried about Curry’s health and realizing it is tied to the fate of the team, who would like him to dial back his aggression. Maybe avoid the paint and settle for more jump shots. He’s heard the advice and is not unwilling to launch a few more shots from deep.

But Curry is going to go where he sees daylight, and the best chance to make a positive play. He’ll take his chances because hesitation has no place in his mind or his game.


How Iguodala helped Looney get career on track, 'I finally listened to him...'


How Iguodala helped Looney get career on track, 'I finally listened to him...'

Back in late October, the Warriors declined their $2.3 million team option on Kevon Looney for the 2018-19 season.

How did that make him feel?

"It was kind of a let down," Looney told Tim Kawakami and Marcus Thompson on the Warriors Plus/Minus Podcast. "I knew it was up in the air. It was going back and forth, back and forth. When they didn't pick it up -- they told me why, I understood, I've been here for three years, I've seen a lot of players come and go; I know basketball is a business -- I was kind of let down.

"But I knew I was going to try and make the most of it. Now I'm playing for my contract for next year. I just wanted to go prove myself. I knew this summer there was a lot of doubts about what I could do. People were doubting if I would even be in the NBA still ... I knew what I was capable of."

Looney underwent surgery on his right hip in August 2015, and appeared in just five games during his rookie season.

He then had surgery on his left hip in April 2016, and appeared in 53 games (8.4 minutes per night) during the 2016-17 season.

This year, he's averaging career highs in points (3.5), rebounds (2.9), blocks (0.7) and minutes (12.0).

"This summer, I decided I just wanted to try go back to the way I played in college. It's been working for me," Looney explained. "I lost about 30 pounds this offseason and it's really made me a lot faster and a lot quicker. And I've been staying healthy."

How did he drop all that weight?

"A lot of broccoli and turkey and plain food. Food that wasn't that good but it's something that I had to get used to," Looney said. "Taco Bell, fried chicken, I was eating that on the regular ... coming off of injury, you can't eat like that. It's a different level of intensity in the NBA.

"I had to change my diet. Andre (Iguodala) was in my ear for two years about it. I finally listened to him and it paid off."

Looney will become an unrestricted free agent in July.

Although the Warriors declined the option, the 22-year old could return to Golden State -- but the max amount the Warriors can offer him is $2.3 million.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller