Warriors Game Report: Klay Thompson explodes in fourth quarter thriller

Klay Thompson is feeling like his old self as the Warriors take on the Houston Rockets tonight at 5:00 PM PST (Photo by Kavin Mistry/Getty Images)
Klay Thompson is feeling like his old self as the Warriors take on the Houston Rockets tonight at 5:00 PM PST (Photo by Kavin Mistry/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Lakers may be dwindling as the ninth seed in the Western Conference, but Saturday’s matchup with the Golden State Warriors certainly had a playoff feel within Chase Center.

After a back and forth battle across the final 12 minutes, the Warriors produced some big plays down the stretch to orchestrate a hard-fought win. Most of those came from sharpshooter Klay Thompson, with the five-time All-Star scoring 16 of Golden State’s 22 fourth-quarter points.

After two straight losses, the Golden State Warriors got back on the winners’ list thanks to a thrilling 117-115 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

The contrasting fortunes of the two teams seemed apparent in the first half as the Warriors opened up an early 41-26 lead. The home crowd was electrified by some thunderous dunks from Jonathan Kuminga, his growing rapport with his teammates evident through some well-timed off-ball movement.

But the Lakers fought back late in the second, reducing the margin to three in a high-scoring first half. As Los Angeles threatened to take the lead, the Warriors tried to re-assert their dominance as the lead pushed back to nine halfway through the third.

Yet the Lakers again made a run, this one more sustained as they appeared more desperate in the big moments. Perhaps it was the knowledge of their precarious standing in the conference, but Los Angeles played with energy seen rarely through their season to date.

Combined with some efficient shooting from deep, they took the lead and grew the margin to six as the Warrior offense stalled early in the fourth. Thompson managed to keep them afloat with some clutch shooting as the contest went down to the wire.

Still, the Lakers managed to maintain a six-point lead with just under four minutes remaining. Thompson again stepped up, two more threes tying the score at 109 with three minutes to play.

After Anthony Davis accepted a lovely alley-oop pass from Russell Westbrook to regain the lead, Andrew Wiggins hit a huge three over the outstretched arm of Lebron James.

Austin Reeves again gave the Lakers the lead at the free-throw line, before Thompson again came to the fore as he drilled a three after an Otto Porter offensive rebound.

Davis then went to the line for two free throws to try and tie the game. What followed was a crazy sequence; After missing the second free throw, the Lakers had three tip attempts before Wiggins eventually gained control of the ball.

Stephen Curry’s finger roll on the ensuing possession gave the Warriors a three-point lead with 45 seconds to play. After James’ turnaround hook shot missed, the Warriors appeared in control. Curry ran down the clock before his three-point attempt was off target, leaving the Lakers 7.3 seconds to send the game to overtime.

They were given the chance as James was sent to the free-throw line for three after a controversial foul call on Curry with 2.4 seconds to play. It appeared the foul came well before the shot attempt, but the referees deemed otherwise and the Warriors were out of challenges.

James crucially missed the first free throw though. After making the second, he purposely missed the third but to no avail as the ball scrambled out to the perimeter with time expiring.

Golden State’s two-point win came on the back of Thompson’s heroics, his 33 points the first time he’d passed 30 since March of 2019. But as Steve Kerr himself said, Kuminga had been the Warriors’ best player up until the fourth. Not only did he provide 18 points and nine rebounds, but he also did a stout job on James as the primary defender.

The Warriors as a team failed to show the defensive tenacity they’ve built their successful season on, allowing the Lakers to shoot 40.7% from three in contrast to their own 31.6%. Still, it was a good win given the ongoing absence of their interior size in Draymond Green and James Wiseman.

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The Warriors now move to 42-15 on the season as they prepare to take on the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.