OAKLAND -- Klay Thompson has been among the NBA’s most accurate long-distance gunners and he’s at it again this season, consistently ranking among the leaders in 3-point shooting.
The 6-foot-7 guard also has a reputation a dogged defender, too, and when fully engaged he is able to contain some of the league’s best guards.
Thompson is not known for his dunks, though, but he jammed one Saturday night in a 122-105 win over San Antonio that will live in Warriors lore for years to come.
“It felt very good,” deadpanned Thompson.
Running along the right sideline, Thompson took an outlet pass from Stephen Curry, dribbled once and took flight, posterizing Spurs big man Davis Bertans in the process and giving the Warriors a 68-62 lead with 8:20 left in the third quarter.
“He took off from pretty far out,” coach Steve Kerr said with a sheepish grin. “I wasn’t sure he was going to get there.”
If the reaction from the Warriors on the bench is any indication, Kerr was not the only person uncertain of Thompson’s ability to take off from about eight out and have enough to shove it down.
Shaun Livingston, Pat McCaw, Kevon Looney, Nick Young and, of course, JaVale McGee leapt off the bench and went into hysterics.
“It excited our guys; they love when Klay dunks,” Kerr said.
“Klay tries to lay the ball up so much, so you never expect him to go try to dunk it like that,” Draymond Green said. “I think that’s why he got that reaction. It was a pretty good dunk.”
The dunk was part of an 18-8 run that put the Spurs away.
“It was nice to see him have that aggressiveness in transition,” Stephen Curry said. “And then from there, he opened the game up making shots and got the building going crazy. The bench went nuts, and that’s always fun to see.”
The slam allowed Thompson, who scored a game-high 25 points, to trim the deficit in his personal dunk duel with center Zaza Pachulia, who has a 10-7 lead.
“We motivate each other to get to the rim and finish strong,” Thompson said. “I think he’s up one on me. But there’s a lot of basketball left. And I see myself beating him by at least four of five dunks. I’m not too worried.”