OAKLAND — Klay Thompson sizzled through the preseason and he caught fire in the Warriors' season opener Wednesday, scoring a career-high 38 points in the team's 125-94 wins over the Los Angeles Lakers at Oracle Arena.
Thompson, who in the preseason averaged 16.9 points per game on 44.5 percent shooting, couldn't be stopped, hitting 15-of-19 shots from the field, including 5-of-7 from 3-point land.
“There's no secret that Klay Thompson is a phenomenal shooter,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “I don't think enough credit is given to him that he's a heck of a basketball player. Not only did he shoot the lights out, but he defended — he's the first line of our defense.”
The third-year guard helped the Warriors (1-0) jump out to a 10-point lead in the first quarter, matching the Lakers (1-1) with 16 points and going 4-for-4 from downtown. He added 11 points in the second quarter as the Warriors went into the locker room halftime ahead 59-40.
“My teammates were just making passes and I was hitting tonight,” Thompson said.
Thompson said he knew he was locked in during the pregame shoot around.
“I was hitting everything,” he said. “Probably shot about 95 percent, so days like that you just know it carries over onto the court.”
Point guard Stephen Curry said he knew Thompson was “feeling it” early.
“You kind of read his flow and, obviously, you know when he's feeling [it], getting good shots,” he said. “You ride that wave as long you can and that's pretty often with him.”
The Warriors stretched the lead to 96-63 after three quarters and the rest of the game was a formality with the reserves finishing out the fourth quarter.
David Lee started the season out where he left off last year in the playoffs before tearing his right hip flexor, scoring 24 points and hauling in eight rebounds. Lee led the NBA with 56 double-doubles last year and he could have recorded one Wednesday if he didn't sit out the fourth quarter of the team's rout of the Lakers.
“It was good for him with the injury last year and, obviously, how his season ended to go out there and play well and go at their bags,” Curry said.
Andre Iguodala had a relatively quiet night offensively by scoring seven points in his debut with the Warriors. But his presence was felt on the defensive end as the Warriors held the Lakers to 39.3 percent shooting (35-for-89) from the field.
“You look at him as a basketball player and you appreciate everything he does on the floor — rebounding, play-making,” Jackson said, in reference to Iguodala. “He doesn't care if he shoots, he doesn't care if he gets touches. He's a guy with a high IQ and he impacts the game without scoring.”
The Warriors didn't need a big-scoring night from Curry. He scored 10 points with six assists and hit only two 3-pointers after setting an NBA record with 272 last season.
“He ran the basketball team,” Jackson said. “He realized who had the hot hand and made sure he got the ball.”
Andrew Bogut, who signed a three-year, $36 million contract extension last week, grabbed eight rebounds in 18 minutes.
The Warriors led the entire game and were ahead by double digits throughout the last three quarters despite missing small forward Harrison Barnes, who is sidelined with left foot inflammation. Golden State shot 55.6 percent (15-for-27) from beyond the arc.
The Lakers, who are playing without Kobe Bryant right now, were competing in their second game in two nights. They upset the Los Angles Clippers in their season opener on Tuesday.
The Warriors return to action against the Clippers at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Thursday.
“”We've got 81 more games,” Thompson said. “You can enjoy it for about an hour, but we've got to fight back tomorrow.”