OAKLAND — It was only the most Klay Thompson thing that the nonchalant Splash Brother would have no clue that Tuesday marked the three-year anniversary of the most brilliant quarter in NBA history. A quarter that Thompson, who was named to his fourth All-Star Game earlier in the day, had authored.
On Jan. 23, 2015, the guard dropped an NBA-record 37 points and nine 3-pointers — all while hitting 13 of 13 field goals — in the third quarter of the Golden State Warriors’ 126-101 home win over the Sacramento Kings. Before Tuesday night’s 123-112 win over the New York Knicks, Thompson sounded like he was delivering slam poetry when asked what he recalled.
“What do I remember? Being in the zone. I had a good time. Green light. It was fun.”
Head coach Steve Kerr was slightly more expressive.
“It was almost surreal — the frenzy,” Kerr explained.
“It was the combination of Klay going crazy and licking his chops and his teammates and the joy that they had for him and with him,” Kerr continued. “They were just hunting shots for him. It was like a pack of hyenas.”
For the opening quarter-and-half against the Knicks, that energy from Thompson — or any of his teammates — was utterly lacking. The Warriors began 1-for-12 from beyond the arc. They played with the urgency of a reigning champion facing a Kristaps Porzingis-less Knicks team.
“The fever pitch — there was like a sound to it, with the crowd. It was just incredible to watch,” Kerr said of Thompson’s barrage. “I’ve never seen anything like it. I probably never will again either.”
Then in the third quarter, like so many times in the past — such as Thompson’s magical run against the Kings — the Warriors roared to life.
His backcourt mate, Stephen Curry, poured in 17, connecting on four of six 3-pointers. The Warriors turned a two-point deficit into a nine-point advantage.
“Offensively, it was a great game,” Kerr said. “We had 40 assists and we couldn’t make a shot for the first quarter. So, great ball movement and a great job of handling the ball, not committing the silly turnovers that have hampered us in the last few games.”
Thompson never found his shot, finishing in single digits for the second time in as many games — and the third time overall this season. He only did that twice all of last season.
Even with his mini-shooting slump, Thompson left his fingerprints all over he win, finishing a game high plus-25.
This season, Thompson leads the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage — while also boasting career highs in 3-point percentage, field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage and true shooting percentage.
Thompson also arrived at the postgame podium still eating his dinner, insisting he was never worried about whether he’d be earning yet another All-Star nod.
“I never sweated it,” Thompson said, in between bites. “I was a positive thinker so I was hoping I’d be there.”
He’s also not sweating whether he ends up on Team Steph or Team LeBron.
“I’ll probably actually request a trade if [Steph] doesn’t pick me. I’m just kidding,” Thompson said.