By Jeffrey Dransfeldt
Special to S.F. Examiner
LOS ANGELES — Typically, a Klay Thompson second half explosion is a positive omen for a Golden State Warriors win.
Thompson, who struggled to a 5-for-15 performance through three periods against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night, rediscovered his stroke and went 5-of-10 in the fourth. His late burst helped spark an 11-0 Golden State rally over the final 5:15 to force overtime at 106 apiece.
But, for a Warriors team playing catch-up much of the evening, it wasn’t enough. A missed opportunity at the end of regulation sent the game to overtime, and Golden State couldn’t complete the comeback in a 121-116 loss.
Thompson, who had 31 points overall, pointed to a straightforward reason for his fourth quarter offensive onslaught.
“Never stop shooting,” he said. “It’s that simple.”
As the clock wound down in the fourth, forward Draymond Green, pushing it up court on a fast break, lost control of the ball as time expired. Kevin Durant, who trailed the play, had a heated exchange with Green on the bench before overtime.
“Just team spirit,” guard Shaun Livingston said. “Team spirit. Guys wanted a different outcome than what happened. Obviously (Draymond) has a turnover, guys might have thought they were open and didn’t get it. Things happen like that in this sport.”
Golden State, already missing an injured Stephen Curry, saw Durant saddled with foul trouble much of the second half. Durant, who completed a triple-double with 33 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, picked up his fifth personal foul late in the third. He managed to play through it until picking up his sixth foul early into overtime.
“I just kept him out there, because obviously we’re a little short-handed with Steph out,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “I like to let guys play through fouls anyway, but there were a few tough ones.”
Thompson attributed the Warriors fourth quarter rally to Golden State’s defense.
“When we lock in, we’re the best defensive team in the world, and we’ve proved that over the past few years,” he said. “We have the best switching ability in the league and we’ll learn from this game.”
Golden State took a 109-106 lead on a 3-pointer from Andre Iguodala to kick off overtime. After a lay-up by Tobias Harris cut the lead to one, Thompson’s step back jumper made it 111-108.
Durant fouled out shortly after. The Clippers’ Montrezl Harrell evened it at 111 via an old fashioned 3-point play.
Los Angeles’ Lou Williams, who had 25 points on the night, scored the Clippers final 10 points to secure the win.
“He’s been playing the same game for like 10 years now, and he’s just a handful to guard,” Livingston said of Williams. “He’s been getting buckets since he was in high school — he was a year under me. He’s a tough cover for anybody.”
Golden State returns to the court Tuesday night at home versus the Atlanta Hawks.