OAKLAND – The source of Klay Thompson’s recent string of fabulous shooting goes back to a long night in Houston.
The Warriors had taken a Game 3 loss to the Rockets, and Thompson had been among the culpable. Playing without explosive sidekick Steph Curry, Thompson missed all seven of his 3-point shots, a couple of which were curious decisions.
“I didn't get deflated – I remember that night and that shot to go ahead from about 26 (feet) might have been a bad shot at the time, but that killed me all night,” Thompson said Sunday after leading the Warriors to a 118-106 win over Portland in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
Thompson was speaking from a podium in the interview room at Oracle Arena. He was sitting there because he had spent the day killing the Trail Blazers, igniting the offense early and scoring a game-high 37 points.
This was Thompson’s latest statement from behind the 3-point line, his third game since that forgettable April 21 performance, and he has been blowtorch hot in all three: 7-of-14 from deep on Sunday, a combined 14-of-22 in Games 4 and 5 against Houston.
That’s 58.3 percent, astonishing by any measure, even though Thompson’s 276 3-pointers in the regular season ranked only behind Curry’s single-season record 402. Thompson was tied for sixth in percentage at 42.5.
“He’s just settled in,” teammate Draymond Green said. “Guys are finding him in good positions but he's been just flying around. If you watch Klay, he's everywhere. He's all over the place. He's back-cutting, he's flying off screens.”
That movement, according to coach Steve Kerr has been the difference. Thompson is wearing out his defenders, and on Sunday he also contained Damian Lillard.
Though the Portland star finished with a team-high 30 points, 18 in the fourth quarter, when the game no longer was in doubt. He was 8-of-26 from the field – 3-of-17 through the first three quarters.
“There are not many guys in the league who could chase Damian Lillard around for 37 minutes and score 37 points, too,” Kerr said.
“But that's a big burden to have to play both ways like that. He was awesome.”
Thompson’s 18-point first quarter, during which he was 4-of-7 from deep, put the Blazers in a hole from which they never could escape. He was the first player in NBA history to make at least seven treys in consecutive postseason games.
Now he’s the first to do three games in a row.
“I’m never going to doubt myself,” Thompson said. “I mean, if I'm not out there hunting my shot and trying to get open looks, then I'm ineffective. So for me, got to be a good shooter in this league, got to be a continuous player and obviously whatever the result was of the play before, forget about it.”