The Golden State Warriors let Game 1 slip away from them Tuesday night.
Klay Thompson ensured that wasn’t going to happen twice.
Thompson dropped 30 points and hit eight 3-pointers to lead the Warriors past the Los Angeles Lakers 127-100 in Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinals series at the Chase Center in San Francisco on Thursday night. It marked Thompson's sixth career playoff game with at least eight 3-pointers, which is the most in NBA history.
“We realize we let one go in Game 1, and we’ve been having to bounce back all year through adversity,” Thompson said on ESPN. “Not a better group to do it with than these guys. We came out, offense was flowing, turnovers were low, we hit the open man. We keep it simple, and the floodgates came open.”
The Lakers, after fending off Golden State in a tight Game 1 behind a huge night from Anthony Davis, got off to a solid start on Thursday night. They took a 7-point lead after the first 12 minutes, and dropped five 3-pointers in the first quarter. That, however, is when things flipped completely.
Golden State opened the second quarter on a 14-4 run before outscoring the Lakers by 18 in the period. Thompson had 19 of his 30 points in the first half behind five 3-pointers, which completely stole any momentum away from the Lakers at the break. Perhaps most importantly, Golden State shut down Davis in the first 24 minutes. Davis, after scoring 30 points and grabbing 23 rebounds in Game 1, was limited to just 4 points in the first half.
Their dominant showing didn’t stop there. The Warriors pushed their lead to 30 points by the end of the third quarter, and put up 110 total points. That marked the most points ever scored against the Lakers in a playoff game.
By then, it was far too late. The Warriors cruised to the 27-point win, which evened the series before it heads to Los Angeles.
James, who had 21 points at halftime, finished with 23 points in the loss. His lone second-half bucket came on a midrange jumper early in the third quarter. He finished with 7 rebounds and 3 assists, and shot 10-of-18 from the field. Rui Hachimura added 21 points off the bench, and Davis finished with 11 points and 7 rebounds.
Stephen Curry finished with 20 points and 12 assists to go with Thompson's 30-point night. The Warriors made 21 3-pointers as a team and shot 50% from behind the arc. JaMychal Green, who started in place of Kevon Looney, finished with 15 points, and both Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green added 11 points. Looney, who came off the bench while battling an illness, finished with 6 points and 8 rebounds in 12 minutes. He’s recorded four games so far this postseason with at least 20 rebounds.
“That’s the best version of Klay, when he’s really going offensively but he’s taking great shots,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Thompson. “That’s what I liked about tonight, I just thought we got really good shots … The fact that the guys weren’t forcing anything, the ball was moving, they were moving it to the open guy, and Klay obviously can get really hot, really fast. It’s more likely to happen when we’re moving the ball like we did tonight.”
Game 3 of the series is set for 8:30 p.m. ET Saturday (ABC) at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. If the Warriors look anything like they did on Thursday night, and they turn Davis into a non-factor once again, it may be an easy road for Golden State to reach its seventh Western Conference finals series in nine years.