NBA: Warriors ride Klay Thompson's big game off the bench
NBA

NBA: Warriors ride Klay Thompson’s big game off the bench to beat Jazz

/ 02:36 PM February 16, 2024

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Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) shoots a 3-point basket against Utah Jazz forward Taylor Hendricks (0) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY — Klay Thompson came off the bench for the first time since his rookie season to knock down seven 3-pointers and score a season-high 35 points, leading the Golden State Warriors to a 140-137 victory over the Utah Jazz in the NBA on Thursday night.

Thompson was a reserve for the first time since March 11, 2012. Rookie guard Brandin Podziemski replaced him in the starting lineup and finished with 13 points, 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.”

READ: Warriors’ Thompson says ‘never been hungrier’ to return

Coach Steve Kerr had a discussion with Thompson on Thursday morning where he informed him of the change in the starting lineup. Kerr acknowledged Thompson wasn’t thrilled with the decision and that fueled what turned out to be his best offensive performance in an up-and-down season.

“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.”

Draymond Green chipped in a season-high 23 points for the Warriors. Andrew Wiggins added 19 points and seven rebounds. Stephen Curry had 16 points and 10 assists.

Thompson scored 17 points in the Warriors’ 84-point first half, but they needed a missed 3-pointer by Collin Sexton to hold on for their eighth win in 10 games.

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READ: NBA: Steph Curry hits last-second triple, Warriors beat Suns

Golden State made at least 20 3-pointers against the Jazz for the second time in four days after going 20 of 42 from the perimeter. The Warriors overcame 13 turnovers that led to 29 Utah points.

Sexton led the Jazz with 35 points and nine assists. Rookie Keyonte George added a career-high 33 points while making a career-high nine 3-pointers. Lauri Markkanen finished with 20 points while John Collins tallied 18. They had 13 rebounds apiece.

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Utah lost its third consecutive home game and fourth straight overall despite shooting 22 of 49 from 3-point range.

After trailing by 18 points to start the fourth quarter, Utah made it a one-possession game in the final two minutes. Markkanen and Sexton each made a pair of baskets to fuel a 13-2 run that cut Golden State’s lead to 138-137 in the final minute.

READ: NBA: Andrew Wiggins leads Warriors to win over 76ers

Markkanen missed a potential go-ahead corner 3 and Collins grabbed the offensive rebounds but threw the ball away with 3.1 seconds left. Curry made two free throws with 2.4 seconds remaining before Sexton missed a good look on the final play.

“Always tough to lose a close one,” Markkanen said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do as a team and individually. “

Utah and Golden State combined to make 29 3-pointers in the first half alone. The Warriors went 15 of 26 from long distance while the Jazz shot 14 of 28.

Thompson made four baskets over the final three minutes of the first quarter. Then the Warriors took over entirely in the second quarter.

Podeziemski scored 13 points during the period to help Golden State surge in front. He and Curry bookended a 14-4 run with 3-pointers to put the Warriors up 65-53.

Golden State totaled 48 second-quarter points – a season high for both the Warriors and a Jazz opponent.

Thompson stepped up his dominance after halftime, totaling 18 points in the third quarter alone. He made five baskets – including four 3-pointers – over a four-minute stretch to help Golden State extend its lead to 120-102 entering the fourth quarter.

“For the majority of our game, the defense just wasn’t physical enough,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said. “Klay Thompson got away from us, especially in the second half. He made some tough ones.”

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NEXT SCHEDULE

Warriors: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 22.

Jazz: Host the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday, Feb. 22

TAGS: Golden State Warriors, NBA

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