Warriors

Klay Thompson is king of the 'Garbage Time All-Stars' and here's why

Klay Thompson is king of the 'Garbage Time All-Stars' and here's why

Through the Warriors' first 36 games this season, Klay Thompson averaged 20.9 points while shooting 43.6 percent overall and 33.3 percent from deep.

Starting on Dec. 29, he turned things around.

Over his last 28 games, the five-time All-Star is averaging 24.7 points while shooting better than 52 percent overall and 48.3 percent from 3-point range.

NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh took a deep dive into the analytics and found something interesting about Klay's campaign so far.

"Of the top 25 scorers, no one saw their scoring numbers jump during garbage time more than Thompson. He scores 29.5 points per 36 minutes when the Warriors are either leading or trailing by more than 15 points compared to 22.7 points per 36 minutes when it’s within five or less. That’s not just a matter of touches. Thompson’s field-goal percentage also drops from 54 percent to 46 percent when the games are more competitive, a decline anchored by a 3-point percentage that sinks from 49 percent to 36 percent in the same situation.

This isn’t an isolated case, either. Though he’s certainly had his playoff moments (sorry, OKC), Thompson has also seen his scoring shrink in the playoffs when the competition is stronger than in the regular season. The sharpshooter has averaged more than 20 points per game in each of the previous four regular seasons but has reached that plateau just once in the past four postseasons.

It could be that playoff teams try to take away Thompson first and then deal with the rest of the Warriors. Teams could also be keying in on Thompson a lot more when the game is close and loosen their grip when the game seems out of hand. But either way, Thompson’s scoring rate jumps 6.7 points in garbage time, the highest in this group."

So when the Warriors are up big or down big, Klay is typically hot. And when the score is tight, Klay's shooting percentages dip.

Hard to argue with those numbers. But let's provide a little more context using some other statistics.

According to NBA.com, Klay has been really solid in "clutch time" (score within five points with less than five minutes remaining in the game) this year, despite getting way less shots than his teammates:

-Klay Thompson = 116 minutes, 19-for-41 overall (46.3 percent), 9-for-22 from deep (41 percent)
-Steph Curry = 97 minutes, 28-for-60 overall (46.7 percent), 15-for-34 from deep (44 percent)
-Kevin Durant = 117 minutes, 30-for-72 overall (41.7 percent), 8-for-21 from deep (38 percent)

For comparison sake, here are how some of the other star players in the NBA are performing in the "clutch" this year:

-Joel Embiid = 39.7 percent
-James Harden = 38 percent
-Paul George = 37.3 percent
-Damian Lillard = 37.3 percent
-Donovan Mitchell = 35.1 percent
-Russell Westbrook = 34.1 percent

[RELATEDSteph Curry asks reporter to make Splash Brothers poster for man cave]

Pretty eye-opening, right?

Furthermore, it will be fun to track the "garbage time All-Star" numbers the rest of the way.

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Warriors vs. Pistons live stream: How to watch NBA game online on MyTeams

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NBC Sports Bay Area

Warriors vs. Pistons live stream: How to watch NBA game online on MyTeams

After the worst home loss of the Steve Kerr era, the Warriors won't wait long to try to get back in the win column.

Golden State hosts the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, and will give former Warrior Zaza Pachulia his 2018-19 championship ring in his first visit back to Oracle Arena. Pachulia's Pistons are 1-2 on a current five-game road trip, and sit in the thick of a playoff race.

[RELATED: Warriors vs. Pistons watch guide]

Detroit is sixth in the Eastern Conference, but enters Sunday's matchup just 1.5 games up on the eighth-place Miami Heat. The Heat is off on Sunday, and a Pistons loss would cut that gap to just one game.

The Warriors, meanwhile, are 0.5 games back of the Denver Nuggets for the Western Conference's top seed after Saturday's loss to the lottery-bound Dallas Mavericks. The Nuggets are also in action Sunday, and the Warriors will need some help from the Indiana Pacers to regain the first seed.

[RELATED: Why KD thinks lopsided loss to Mavs wasn't 'odd at all']

Here's how you can watch Warriors vs. Pistons on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming online:

When: Sunday, March 24, at 5:30 p.m. PT (pregame at 4:30 p.m.)
TV channel: NBC Sports Bay Area
Live stream: MyTeams by NBC Sports app

Warriors vs. Pistons watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

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USATSI

Warriors vs. Pistons watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

OAKLAND -- Following Saturday's 126-91 beatdown courtesy of the Dallas Mavericks, the Warriors are set to welcome an old friend as the Pistons come to town Sunday evening. 

Pistons big man, Zaza Pachulia, who was a member of the Warriors' last two championship teams, will receive his ring Sunday. Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4 o'clock with Warriors Outsiders, followed by Warriors Pregame Live at 4:30 and scheduled 5:40 pm tip-off.

[RELATED: How to watch Warriors-Pistons live online on the MyTeams app]

Pachulia, who signed with the Pistons last summer, is a critical piece of the Warriors championship fabric. Signed in 2016, Pachulia was a mainstay in the frontcourt during the 2017 championship run, averaging 6.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists, starting every game. Last season, with coach Steve Kerr tinkering with lineups mid-season, Pachulia lost his starting spot following the All-Star break and played in just seven postseason games. However, his lasting impact in Golden State will be his professionalism and guidance to the team's young bigs like Jordan Bell and Kevon Looney. 

On Sunday, the Warriors will reward those qualities with his second championship ring.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Warriors


F Kevin Durant 
F Draymond Green
C Andrew Bogut
G Klay Thompson
G Stephen Curry

Pistons

F Blake Griffin 
C Andre Drummond
G Reggie Jackson
G Wayne Ellington
G Bruce Brown

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: Kevon Looney (Right Forearm Contusion) is questionable. DeMarcus Cousins (Load Management, Return from Achilles Injury), Andre Iguodala (Rest) and Damian Jones (Left Pectoral Surgery) are out.

Pistons: No injuries to report

ROTATION OUTLOOK

Warriors

After a one-game absence for rest, Curry is back in the lineup. Durant will hope to play better after a 9-of-25 performance Sunday.

With Cousins out, look for Bogut to get the start as Steve Kerr prefers to keep the rotation intact. 

Curry will look to get his shot back on track. In his last game, Thursday's win over Indiana, he made just 5-of-15 from the field. Over his last five games, he's shooting just 42.3 percent. 

Pistons

Detroit, like Golden State, will be playing their second game of a back to back Sunday afternoon. 

Griffin has been fantastic this season, averaging 24.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 5.4 assists, earning his sixth All-Star appearance. 

Joining Griffin on the Pistons imposing frontline is Drummond, who's averaging 15.4 rebounds this season and could provide a headache for the Warriors all night long. 

Officials: Josh Tiven (#58), Tyler Ford (#39), Ray Acosta (#54)