Warriors: Klay Thompson is Golden State’s bridge over troubled waters in Western Conference Semifinal Game 5

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OAKLAND — As Stephen Curry flicked an up-ahead behind-the-head pass on the break to Klay Thompson for the flush in the first quarter on Tuesday night, the Golden State Warriors were in a funk.

The so-called Hamptons Five lineup came into Tuesday, having shot 52.2% from the field this postseason, and gave the Warriors a big boost starting Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Sunday. Before Thompson’s dunk in Game 5, though, they were just 1-for-6.

With a close-out game on tap and a date with the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals looming with a victory, Thompson — who had shot just 32.7% over the last three games –found a groove. He scored 14 points in the first quarter and kept the Warriors afloat until they ripped off one of their patented third-quarter runs to advance with a 113-104 win.

“Klay broke out quickly, and I thought that was great, set a good tone for us,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “That got us going. Seems like he does that frequently, has good starts. It was good, because otherwise, we didn’t seem to be making a lot of shots.”

With Curry on the shelf with a sprained MCL, Thompson had the best start to the playoffs in his career against San Antonio, shooting 52.9% from the field and 51.6% from three. After a 10-for-22 night in Game 1 against the Pelicans, though, he shot just 18-for-55 in the second three games of the series.

As the rest of the Warriors scuffled at the start of Game 5, missing 17 of their first 25 shots, Thompson hit eight of his first 13, and finished the first half with a game-high 19. He finished with 23 points on 10-of-22 shooting, six rebounds and three assists.

“It’s the hardest game,” Thompson said of the close-out game after Tuesday morning’s shoot around. “There’s a lot on the line. You don’t want to make that flight back, and they don’t want their season to end. You can’t believe the hype. Everyone’s already telling you about Warriors-Rockets, but both teams still have a job to do.”

Despite the Warriors getting out to two separate nine-point leads in the first half, the Pelicans kept chipping away, taking the lead with an Anthony Davis alley-oop dunk with 2:42 to go in the first half.

Two plays later, Thompson picked off a pass from E’Twaun Moore and pushed it up to Curry for a layup to re-take the lead from New Orleans with 2:09 to go before the half. He had two defensive rebounds and that steal before the break, adding a bounce pass assist on the break to a cutting Andre Iguodala for a bucket with under 30 seconds to go before the Warriors went into the locker room up 59-56.

“I mean, I’m looking at the stats sheet, he was 2-for-8 from three tonight and it seemed way crazier than that,” said Draymond Green. “Like, he really had it going in the first half.”

“Still missed a few easy threes, but that’s basketball,” Thompson said. “HOpefully, those will go down in the next round more frequently.”

Coming out of the half, Thompson hit a pull-up jumper to spark a 10-0 Golden State run with the Hamptons Five lineup back on the floor. With 8:45 to go in the third, Green picked off an errant pass and pushed it ahead to Thompson. He swung it to Curry across the court on a two-on-one break and Curry buried the three to put the Warriors up 74-58.

Curry, who scored just four first-quarter points, scored nine in the second and then 13 in the pull-away third. Durant — after his dismal start — hit nine of his next 10 as the Warriors built up a 23-point lead on a 29-11 run. Curry finished with a team-high 28 on 10-of-16 shooting in 37 minutes. Durant finished 10-of-18 from the floor for 24 points.

The Warriors start the Western Conference Finals against Houston on Monday at 6 p.m.

“He’s going to be huge,” Green said. “Obviously he’s a big part of what we do with the way he spaces the floor, the offense he brings to this team, but, more importantly, what he did on the defensive side of the ball, as well. He’s really key in us on our defense and the job he’s done on [Rajon] Rondo the last two games was huge.”

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