Warriors

Warriors

The pleas of Warriors fans around the globe have been answered. Klay Thompson has arrived for the season.

After a full seven games fighting his mechanics in search of rhythm, practically praying to make the kind of shots that made him a star, Thompson was on target from the opening tip Monday night, carrying the Warriors to a 149-124 win over the Bulls in Chicago.

Thompson scored 22 points in the first quarter, 36 for the half and 52 points in a total of 27 minutes. He smashed Stephen Curry’s single-game record for 3-pointers in the process when he drained his 14th triple in the third quarter.

Kevin Durant and Curry, so tremendous in holding up the offense while Thompson struggled, could take a breath, become gracious teammates and behold the white-hot offensive pyrotechnics of Thompson.

“It was an unbelievable night,” Curry told reporters at United Center. “Everything was clicking from the jump. Klay starts off hot and we’ve been waiting for him to shoot like himself. Obviously, he did that.”

Klay’s first seven games were dreadful by his standard. He was shooting 13.9 percent beyond the arc, behind which he has made his offensive living. The one place he could always go to get his “money” was shutting him down.

“It’s been frustrating,” Thompson said.

“But I always look at the bright side. We’ve been winning games, and I’ve been shooting a great percentage from other than the 3-point line. So I knew it was going to fall eventually.”

 

That the Warriors won six of seven while Thompson was shooting 52 percent inside the arc, 34.6 percent overall, made it easier to accept his struggles. And he doesn’t bother with the charade of avoiding the “s" word.

Of course, it’s easier to utter "slump" when it’s history, blown to bits by a performance for the ages.

“It’s the best feeling, something I hadn’t felt in the first six or seven games,” Thompsons said. “To snap out of slump with a record, I couldn’t ask for a better way to do it.”

Thompson’s big night gives the Warriors three players who have scored at least 20 points in a quarter this season. Curry has done it twice, Durant once.

Curry and Durant, however, play a different game than Thompson. Whereas they often score off the dribble, Thompson punishes opponents with constant motion and rubbing off screens. His 14 3-pointers on Monday required only five dribbles.

“He got us in transition, he got us coming off screens,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We missed some matchups coming down in the flow. And once he got going we couldn't stop him."

Nothing could stop Thompson on his night, including a collision with teammate Damian Jones that resulted in a cut to Thompson’s forehead that began bleeding so profusely that Warriors trainers applied a succession of bandages.

It didn’t matter -- Thompson was not coming out of this game. He put on headband and kept firing until the record was his. Asked if he liked the statement made by the headband, he was to embrace the look.

"I do,” Thompson said. “I looked like Jackie Moon out there. He's probably one of my favorite characters in all sports movies."

Jackie Moon is a character played by actor Will Ferrell in the movie “Semi-Pro.” He has plenty of fun as the owner/coach/player with the fictional Flint (Mi.) Tropics. Let’s just say Moon is a ... creative sort, with a good nature, having a good time.

Kind of like Thompson against the Bulls. He feels productive again, like a significant part of the winning formula.

He’s not going to break records on a nightly basis, but by joining Curry and Durant with superb shooting Thompson gives the Warriors a rather impenetrable shield. Indeed, for the first time this season, they were the team many have accused of “breaking” the NBA.