Steph Curry, Klay Thompson offer reminder who’s still NBA’s greatest show

These aren’t the identical Houston Rockets that Warriors followers had been used to seeing time and time once more within the NBA playoffs. No longer there’s a rivalry between the 2 Western Conference opponents. The elder of those Rockets, nonetheless, has seen all of it between Houston and Golden State.

Eric Gordon must be sick of the Warriors by now, particularly Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The Warriors’ newest model of torture for the Rockets’ veteran guard got here Sunday evening within the Warriors’ 127-120 win at Toyota Center.

With underneath a minute to go and the Warriors up by 4 factors, Gordon guarded Curry as tightly as doable. As Gordon has seen so many instances earlier than, typically there merely are no solutions to stopping Steph. With the shot clock winding down, Curry hopped behind the 3-point line and threw up a 3 that regarded prefer it was about to kiss the ceiling.

Instead, it got here splashing down by way of the web. Game over, Curry says evening evening. Look on the Rockets’ bench. They all become Steph stans.

“That rainbow was simply what he does, and it is cool to listen to the group react the way in which they did,” Thompson mentioned to reporters after the win. “Everyone comes for a show when the Warriors are on the town, and I feel he form of solidified that showmanship with that shot. I used to be even like, ‘Wow, that is unbelievable!'”

Even Curry was stunned by himself. The celebration was equally enjoyable within the second, and making enjoyable of him and his teammates a bit.

“Nah, that was simply because I stunned myself with that shot,” Curry mentioned about his signature celebration. “More so with the celebration, the clock was happening — we had been working out of the clock, me and Draymond put our palms above our heads like we actually received one thing. Just form of making enjoyable of our gradual begin out on the street, however it was a superb win.

“… I wish to have enjoyable, too.”

What was even sweeter for Curry and the remainder of the Warriors was the truth that the evening didn’t belong to him. He was spectacular as soon as once more, little doubt there. For solely the third time this season, Curry was not the Warriors’ main scorer. For the primary time, the consideration belonged to Thompson.

This was a classic Clay Day. The Splash Brother was feeling it after main the Warriors to their first street win of the season after opening 0-8.

Too typically, the joyous sharpshooter who’s happiest on a basketball courtroom, or out on the ocean, has traded his smile for frustrations this season. He got here into the evening averaging solely 15.5 factors whereas taking pictures a low 36.3 p.c from the sphere and 33.6 p.c on 3-pointers. He has grappled with the truth that he’s not the identical participant who went to 4 straight All-Star Games earlier than lacking two-and-a-half seasons to a torn ACL and torn Achilles. But the four-time NBA champion is aware of he is able to rather more.

No matter how a lot Klay has needed to clear the noise throughout his early-season points, he has had bother turning down the quantity. He has heard the naysayers. He has seen the tweets.

In a second of vulnerability, Thompson admitted Sunday that he let all of it get to him. And he additionally made it clear that is not going to occur.

“No, I do not care anymore,” he mentioned. “I actually let the trolls get to me. Like, what am I doing, ya know. I simply had a revelation the place I used to be like, ‘Man, simply be you and all the pieces will play out.’

“Criticize me all you need, however I still understand how nice I’m and what I’m able to. I feel actual Warriors followers know that as effectively.”

On the identical ground the place Thompson made a complete lot of Texas enemies previously, he despatched everybody watching a stern message: I’m still Klay Thompson. Doubt me at your individual threat. Watch what occurs if you happen to do.

Well, what occurred for the Rockets was watching Thompson rating a season-high 41 factors, going 14-for-23 from the sphere and 10-for-13 from lengthy distance. Sunday evening was the primary time he scored greater than 30 factors this yr and it was his first 40-plus efficiency. In one recreation alone, Thompson raised his field-goal proportion nearly three factors, all the way in which to 39 p.c. Plus, his 3-point proportion moved up by greater than 4 factors to 37.7 p.c.

Thompson’s 41 factors tied essentially the most he has scored since his two leg accidents, and his 10 3-pointers are his most since scoring 44 factors towards the Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 21, 2019.

The ultimate triple that hit house was his pre-dagger to Curry placing the nail within the coffin.

It did not take lengthy for Thompson to do injury to Houston’s protection. How quick? He scored 20 factors within the first quarter, the eleventh time he has scored 20 or extra factors in 1 / 4 and fifth within the first.

Although this was solely the third time Thompson scored at the very least 20 factors in a recreation this season, it was his second recreation in a row hitting that mark. He dropped 20 two nights in the past within the Warriors’ win over the New York Knicks and went 8-for-16 from the sphere for his first 50-percent taking pictures recreation of the yr.

Led by Draymond Green, the Warriors held a crew assembly the morning of the win towards the Knicks and reaped the rewards. Draymond was as trustworthy as doable to Thompson in that assembly, figuring out it could be the very best factor for his brother and the remainder of the crew. Now, Green is seeing the participant who has been so nice for therefore lengthy.

“He’s being Klay Thompson,” Green mentioned. “He is just not frightened about what occurs with Klay, he is frightened about what occurs with this crew. When Klay worries about what occurs with this crew, Klay performs nice and we win.

“I’ve at all times mentioned he is essentially the most aggressive man that I’ve ever performed with. And a very powerful factor to him has at all times been successful. At instances, all of us get away from who we’re. In a brotherhood, you want anyone to convey you again to who you might be. I’ve little doubt in my thoughts if it was me, he’d do the identical factor.”

Out of the gates the final two video games, Thompson’s counterpart has made it a mission to get him going early. Curry assisted on the Warriors’ first 5 photographs within the final win. This time, he completed the primary quarter — the identical one the place Thompson put up a 20-spot — with seven assists. That’s one help shy of his profession excessive for 1 / 4.

Behind Thompson’s 20 factors, the Warriors scored 40 within the first quarter. None had been subsequent to Curry’s title. He then scored eight within the second quarter, and with the Warriors trailing at halftime, he gave Golden State 16 factors within the third quarter. Curry and Thompson every scored 9 factors within the fourth, giving Curry 33 factors and 15 assists on the evening.

Finding the right mix of facilitator and game-changing scorer, Curry had his second straight recreation with at the very least 20 factors and 10 assists, sixth profession recreation with 30 factors and 15 assists and eleventh recreation this season scoring at the very least 30 factors. He crushed any final hopes Houston had, and he delighted extra in speaking about Thompson’s evening than the rest, with the 2 combining to attain 74 factors — the seventeenth time they’ve scored 70 or extra factors collectively.

“It’s all related,” Curry mentioned. “How he began carried all through the sport as a result of he bought his confidence going. The ball was shifting all around the courtroom, discovering the appropriate man.”

Much of the Warriors’ season up to now has been Curry’s teammates marveling at his mastery each recreation. Klay was joyful to help this time.

“Steph has been going all season lengthy, so it felt good to assist him somewhat bit,” Thompson mentioned. “It simply felt good to have a giant recreation. I’m my harshest critic. The first 10 video games of the season weren’t straightforward for me.

“To come out and be myself once more, it felt unbelievable. It’s simply one thing for me to construct on and to maintain going.”

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Muting his critics and trolls being again to non-existent, Thompson gave himself and everybody else a reminder in Houston. Watching Steph and Klay go to work, although, has at all times been extra particular than any particular person spectacle. It’s one thing that may’t be duplicated.

With a decade of creating magic collectively, the Splash Brothers are still the greatest show within the NBA.

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