Klay Thompson Scores 35 In New Role

Stepping into an unfamiliar role, Klay Thompson emerged from the bench for the first time since his rookie campaign. Thompson tapped into his abilities by draining seven three-pointers en route to a season-high 35 points. His standout effort propelled the Golden State Warriors to a thrilling 140-137 win over the Utah Jazz on Thursday evening.

The last time Thompson assumed a reserve position dated back to March 11, 2012. Taking his place in the starting lineup, rookie guard Brandin Podziemski made his mark with a solid contribution — tallying 13 points along with eight assists and six rebounds.

“You can do two things: You can pout or you can go out there and respond,” said Thompson, who became the sixth Golden State player to surpass 15,000 points. “I thought I did the latter very well tonight.”

As per ESPN Stats & Information, Thompson had maintained an impressive streak of 727 consecutive starts, placing him fourth in the NBA for active streaks, behind only DeMar DeRozan, Damian Lillard, and teammate Steph Curry.

On Thursday morning, Coach Steve Kerr sat down with Thompson for a candid conversation to inform him of his move to the bench. Kerr acknowledged Thompson’s apprehension towards the decision, which served as a motivating factor behind his offensive outburst in what had been a poor season by his standard.

“It’s been a tricky season for him and for us,” said Kerr, who earned his 500th victory as Golden State’s coach. “It’s not as easy to do what Klay did five or six years ago for him. I think this could be a good balance to get the best out of Klay and to get the best out of our team.”

“He’s just such a competitor,” Kerr said after the game. “I’ve watched him win championships. I’ve seen him hit a million big shots. I’ve seen him guard the toughest guys in the league. Klay’s a champion. He’s an incredible player, great person.”

Thompson’s contribution of 17 points in the Warriors’ explosive 84-point first half was instrumental in securing their lead, although they had to rely on a missed three-pointer by Collin Sexton to clinch their eighth victory in ten games.

The second quarter saw Golden State score 48 points, marking a season-high for both the team and any opponent of the Jazz. Following halftime, Thompson elevated his performance, netting 18 points in the third quarter alone. Thompson’s 35-point outing marked the first time a Warriors player achieved such a feat coming off the bench since Ian Clark accomplished it in 2017 against the San Antonio Spurs, as per ESPN Stats & Information.