OAKLAND – Klay Thompson was just finding his shooting stroke when a sprained ankle sustained last week at Indiana forced him to miss one game and look a bit sluggish in the next.
His stroke didn’t exactly leave him, though, as Thompson fired in 43 points – including 27 in a sizzling third quarter – Wednesday night to lift the Warriors to a 128-103 thrashing of the Suns at Oracle Arena.
“It was fun to watch,” interim coach Luke Walton said. “You get so caught up coaching sometimes that you don’t realize that it’s happening. I knew Klay was hot, but I didn’t realize exactly how hot he was.”
Thompson missed four of his first five shots before zeroing in to torch Phoenix. In 31 total minutes, he was 15-of-22 overall, and 8-of-13 from 3-point distance.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Klay drops 27 in third, Warriors crush Suns]
“I just knew if I was going to get those shots the whole game, I was going to knock them down,” Thompson said of his early misses. “A couple wide-open ones I missed. I was getting some easy looks after that, getting close the rack on a couple and getting into a great rhythm.
“I’m just happy with how efficiently I played tonight. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to my teammates, though. They do a great job of looking for me when I’m hot.”
So hot was Thompson during the third quarter that the Warriors, from Stephen Curry to Draymond Green to Brandon Rush and down the roster, were actively seeking to set up the fifth-year guard.
“When you get a stop or get a transition opportunity, you try to find him wherever he is,” said Curry, finished with 25 points and seven assists. “When he starts clicking, there’s no better thing to watch. He made some crazy shots. He was attacking the rim, getting to the basket, playing efficiently. It was fun to watch.”
Thompson scored on a variety of shots, some in transition, some off screens in the half-court and some simply off catch-and-shoot opportunities. He was 9-of-11 in the third quarter, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Outscoring the Suns 46-19 in the quarter, the Warriors went up 105-65 after three, pretty much closing it out. Neither Thompson, nor Curry nor Green played in the fourth quarter.
“When him or Steph get going,” Walton said, “they’re such great shooters that it’s really incredible what they do and (how) the difficult shots they make look so easy. I don’t know as a defense how you stop it.”
One thing was evident: The Suns never figured it out.