TORONTO — Klay Thompson did what barely any team has done this year.
He beat Stephen Curry.
The 3-point contest championship has gone from one “Splash Brother” to another, as Thompson beat his Warriors teammate and defending champion with a dazzling display at All-Star Saturday night. Thompson finished the final round with 27 points, four more than Curry managed as once again, the title came down to the two sharpshooters.
“We love to shoot against each other,” Thompson said. “You know, I’ve never been on a team with someone who shoots it better than me, so it’s a privilege to work with him every day. He makes me that much better.”
Phoenix’s Devin Booker was third, with 16 points in the final round. He beat Houston’s James Harden and J.J. Redick of the Los Angeles Clippers to get out of the first round, and Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, Portland’s C.J. McCollum and Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton were eliminated early.
As probably many expected, it came down to Curry and Thompson.
Curry shot before Thompson in the final round, making his first seven shots and putting up 23 points – which, to that point, was the best score of the night. Shooters got one point for making a conventional 3-pointer, two points for using a multicolored “money ball.”
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to make shots,” Curry said. “Just like in a game.”
So the pressure was on Thompson, and he delivered.
Here’s how good Thompson was in the finals – he had two different streaks of eight consecutive makes. Thompson was 19-for-25 in the final round, 18-for-25 in the first, and adding them together put him at 74 percent on the night.
That’s what it took to beat Curry, who set the NBA single-season record with 286 3-pointers last season and is on pace to obliterate that mark this season. He’s already at 245, and the Warriors have 30 games remaining.
And really, the only title Curry probably really wants to defend is the NBA championship anyway. He and Thompson have helped the Warriors get off to a 48-4 start this season, making them the heavy favorites to repeat as titlists.
“Back-to-back years for the ‘Splash Brothers,’” Thompson said. “It’s pretty cool.”