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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Klay Thompson seals Warriors’ 9th straight win with clutch 3-pointers

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Warriors’ reserves built their lead, but it was the usual suspects who held on to it for their ninth straight win, 110-98, Monday night over the Thunder.

Klay Thompson nailed a pair of clutch 3-pointers in the final 2 minutes to stem a late run by Oklahoma City and finished with a team-best 21 points in his most playing time since returning from injury.

On the night Thompson’s minutes restriction rose to 30 per game, coach Steve Kerr held back in the first half to ensure he’d have both Splash Brothers at his disposal in the final moments. It paid off. Thompson and Steph Curry scored the Warriors’ final 9 points, after Oklahoma City used a 12-2 run to pull within 5 points.

“It was awesome just to have Klay back in crunch time, knowing the defense was going to be heavily slanted toward Steph,” Kerr said. “For Klay to get free and knock down a couple shots was really fun to see.”

After trailing for almost the entire first quarter, the Warriors used a 36-23 second quarter to pull ahead for good, even if Kerr and Co. got a scare at the end.

Trailing 23-22 early in the second, Jordan Poole turned the corner around a Jonathan Kuminga screen and found himself staring down an open lane. He bolted for the basket and threw the ball down with authority.

Poole growled. Kerr pumped his fist. The Thunder called timeout. The tone for the rest of the night had been set, even if Oklahoma City briefly reclaimed the lead for a few more moments.

“What I loved about that play is he had the ball earlier in the possession and got the ball out of his hands quickly and went up and set the screen,” Kerr said. “It was point-five basketball, everything we try to preach on a daily basis.”

The Warriors’ second unit keyed their second-quarter run. It was Poole with the first slam, but Kuminga’s pair of putback dunks will lead the highlight reels.

The Warriors got 46 points off the bench, led by 16 from Kuminga and 11 from Poole, who also dished out eight assists (tying a career high) and collected eight rebounds.

Before tipoff, Kerr was asked to evaluate the Thunder and said they were in the throes of a rebuild, an assessment that requires no more evidence than their 17-36 record and second-to-last place in the Western Conference standings.

Yet, the young and athletic Thunder never let Golden State get comfortable. After Thompson sunk a pair of free throws shortly after halftime to widen the Warriors’ lead to 16, the Thunder prevented them from extending it any further.

Thompson was coming off his best game since returning to the court and just received clearance to play up to 30 minutes, but it took until after halftime for his first 3-pointer to fall Monday night.

His final two, though, were the big ones.

Oklahoma City had cut the Warriors’ lead to five on a spinning drive and finish by rookie sensation Josh Giddey when Thompson got the ball at the top of the key on the following possession. He fired and held his follow through while the ball fell through the net.

He followed it with another snipeshot with a hand in his face, officially putting the breaks on an Oklahoma City run that had trimmed a 14-point lead to five in the span of 4 minutes.

Absent any one player assuming a starring role, the Warriors won with an ensemble of scoring. Five players finished in double figures but no one scored more than Thompson’s 21. Andrew Wiggins paced the Warriors with 13 in the first half but added only two after intermission.

World Nation News Desk
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