What we learned as Klay drains 12 3-pointers in win vs. OKC


SAN FRANCISCO -- When one Splash Brother goes down, another must step up. Klay Thompson did more than that Monday night in the Warriors’ 141-114 blowout win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

Thompson had the nets dipping in front of his home fans, scoring 27 points in the first half. Nothing was forced and efficiency was on display. The flamethrower finished with 42 points on 15-for-22 shooting and 12-for-16 from downtown.

Plus, what started as a one-man show ended as a collective team effort. Jordan Poole did exactly what the Warriors needed from him in their first game since Steph Curry went down to a lower left leg injury, scoring 21 points on 8-for-14 shooting to go with a career-high 12 assists.

Andrew Wiggins was active all game, adding 18 points and was a plus-25 in plus/minus.

All in all, this should be a game to remember for the Warriors, who now are 8-8 without Curry this season.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors improving to 28-26 on the season.

Klay Catches Fire

Thompson has put together a handful of strong first quarters this season. What he did Monday night, though, was a whole different level. As both teams traded buckets, Klay caught fire right from the start.

He scored 18 points in the first quarter alone, going 7-for-10 from the field and 4-for-5 from deep. And he was just getting started. Thompson scored another nine points in the second quarter, giving him 27 in the first half while shooting 10-for-14 overall and 7-for-9 on 3-pointers. That gave him his most points in a half since 2019.

Did a halftime break slow him down? Not at all. 

Coming out of the break, Thompson opened the third quarter with back-to-back threes.

Klay ended up playing a total of 33 minutes and scored 27 points in the first half and 15 in the second. His 12 3-pointers are the second-most of his career and only two off his NBA record of 14 in a gem.

Under Control

With Curry sidelined, the spotlight shined brightest on Poole. He answered the call in major ways Monday night. 

Scoring has never been a question for the 23-year-old guard. Whenever Curry has missed games, Poole easily has put up 20-plus points. In the 15 games that Curry has been absent for this season prior to the Warriors’ win against the Thunder, Poole was averaging 27.7 points and 4.2 assists. 

But also 4.9 turnovers. 

His turnovers have cost the Warriors wins at times. Not this time, though.

Poole didn’t turn the ball over until there were seven minutes left in the third quarter. At that point, he already had nine assists. Before the third quarter was over, he already tied his career high of 11 assists. He finished with a new career-high 12 assists and four turnovers.

This was the blueprint of what Poole can do on a nightly basis as Curry recovers.

A Very Happy Birthday

Sometimes it feels like Kevon Looney has been a Warrior every bit as long as Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green. The veteran center plays an old-school game and carries himself like a wise elder. On Monday, he also celebrated his 27th birthday, a number that feels far too young. 

Looney celebrated in style, too, with his latest example of why he’s so important to the Warriors. 

Steve Kerr said after the Warriors’ win Saturday night against the Dallas Mavericks that Looney, who started and scored 10 points to go with seven rebounds, would remain in the starting lineup. So much for that.

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Instead, Jonathan Kuminga was inserted into the Warriors’ starting five and Looney came off the bench. All Looney did was snatch 11 rebounds off the bench to lead the Warriors and was a plus-21. 

He’s a winner in every sense of the word, and played a big part in the Warriors improving to three games over .500 before they take off for Portland.

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