Klay Thompson exploded into the national consciousness on Wednesday night, pouring in 29 first-half points in a scintillating shooting display that left the San Antonio Spurs stunned and helped propel the Golden State Warriors to a convincing 100-91 win. As we bask in the glow of yet another marvelous scoring deluge from the Golden State backcourt, here are five stat notes of interest from the 23-year-old sophomore's brilliant Game 2 coming-out party:
1. Thompson became just the fifth player in the last 10 years to put up 29 points in the first half of a playoff game, joining Dwight Howard (31 first-half points against the Atlanta Hawks in 2011), Tony Parker (31 against the Dallas Mavericks in 2009), Ray Allen (29 against the Chicago Bulls five days after Parker's big first half) and LeBron James (Game 6). Pretty good company, dog.
2. He scored more points, made more field goals (11) and hit more 3-pointers (seven) in the first 24 minutes on Wednesday than he had in any of his first seven full playoff games. When you do that, you can fall off a little bit in the second half — and he did, scoring just five points on 2 for 8 shooting and going scoreless in the fourth quarter — and nobody's really going to mind that much. (It's not like Thompson just disappeared, though; his defense in the second half, especially on Parker, was exemplary.)
3. The 29 first-half points were more than Thompson had scored in all but six of his 155 career regular- and postseason games entering Wednesday night, and were just three shy of his career high. (He'd finish with a new personal best of 34 points in the win.)
4. Thompson is better than the Boston Celtics:
Klay Thompson's 29 point half is more than the entire Celtics team scored in 3 different halves in the first round.
— John Karalis (@RedsArmy_John) May 9, 2013
(It's also more than the Atlanta Hawks managed in the first half of their season-ending Game 6 loss to the Indiana Pacers. So don't feel too lonely, Celtics fans.)
5. Thompson has now reached the top of Pop's list:
Klay Thompson's 29 points are the most in a half of a playoff game by any player against the Spurs in the Gregg Popovich era.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 9, 2013
Considering the array of stars Gregg Popovich's Spurs team has played against over the years, that's a pretty awesome list to top ... although, y'know, given Pop's background, it might also make me a little nervous if I was in Mr. Thompson's high tops.
Bonus fact: This is a full-game nugget, but it's a good one from the Elias Sports Bureau:
Thompson's 34 points and 14 rebounds made him just the fourth starting guard in the last 25 years to put up at least 34 and 14 in a playoff game. The other three: Vince Carter (34 and 15 against the Indiana Pacers in 2006), Kobe Bryant (48 and 16 against the Sacramento Kings in 2001) and Michael Jordan (40 and 15 against the New York Knicks in 1989, 38 and 19 against the Philadelphia 76ers in 1991). If we crank the timetable back just one more year and open the door to guard/forward swingmen — and I think we should, because we have both flexible time-off and open-door policies here — Klay becomes the fifth, joining former Seattle SuperSonics star Dale Ellis (43 and 14 against the Dallas Mavericks in 1987), according to Basketball-Reference.com.
How good was Klay Thompson's first half? Good enough to make me write about Dale Ellis in 2013. Now THAT'S saying something.