After allowing the Indiana Pacers to erase a 12-point deficit over the second half of the fourth quarter to knot their Tuesday night matchup at 96-all, the Golden State Warriors still had the ball with 10.9 seconds left and a chance to go for the win on the road at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Needing a win to keep pace in the brutal fight for playoff positioning at the bottom of the Western Conference bracket, head coach Mark Jackson called the number of the less-famous "Splash Brother" ... and Klay Thompson delivered:
Nothing too fancy or intricate there — just the Warriors recognizing that the 6-foot-7 Thompson was being guarded by 6-foot-2 Pacers point guard George Hill, dumping the ball into the post and letting Thompson go to work on the mismatch. Hill's a strong, long-armed defender, but the 205-pound Thompson was able to back him in, spin back toward the baseline to create separation, and elevate for the jumper.
At that point, there was no cavalry riding in to save the Indiana point guard; Thompson calmly drained a 12-foot fadeaway to give Golden State a 98-96 lead with 0.6 seconds remaining. An attempted game-winning 3-pointer by Paul George went long — but, like, just long, getting just a bit too much of the back rim — from 29 feet at the final horn, as the Warriors were able to hold for a 98-96 victory despite being giving up a 13-point lead in 4 1/2 minutes.
They did so thanks in large to Thompson, who led Golden State with 25 points on 10 for 20 shooting, including a 3 for 5 mark from 3-point range, to go with five rebounds, two assists and a block in 41-plus minutes. Sixteen of those 25 points came in the final frame, as the Warriors had to look for a secondary option with perimeter-defending ace George blanketing Golden State All-Star Stephen Curry, who managed just one field-goal attempt (which he missed) and three turnovers in 5:45 of fourth-quarter burn.
It was a nice bounce-back game for the third-year pro out of Washington State, who missed 11 of 15 shots in the Warriors' Sunday loss to the Toronto Raptors, and who's largely been alternating strong and weak performances over the past couple of weeks. Luckily for Jackson and company, Thompson was the good kind of bad on Tuesday — must be that goatee — to help Golden State score its first win in Indiana in seven years, handing the Pacers just their fourth home loss of the season. The Warriors improve to 37-24 with the win, giving them a one-game lead over the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks for the sixth seed out West.
David West (27 points on 10 for 17 shooting, seven rebounds and two assists in 33 1/2 minutes) and George (26 points, albeit on 23 shots, 12 rebounds, four assists in 40 minutes) led the way for the Pacers, who got just 11 points from their bench — Evan Turner and C.J. Watson combined for one point on 0 for 7 shooting in 30 1/2 total minutes — to see their five-game winning streak snapped as they fell to 46-14. Luckily for them, the Miami Heat couldn't capitalize on their opportunity, losing a tight game to the Houston Rockets to stay two games back of Frank Vogel's Pacers in the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
If the clip above isn't rocking for you, feel free to check Klay's game-winner out elsewhere, thanks to Beyond the Buzzer.
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