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Thompson boosts value, Warriors to win over Suns

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- If the rumors are true and the Golden State Warriors are indeed considering trading Klay Thompson, the organization made a wise move holding onto him Wednesday.

His value just went up.

Thompson enjoyed one of his best shooting performances of the season, mixing in four 3-pointers amid a 10-for-18 overall effort while helping the Warriors snap a six-game losing streak at the expense of the Phoenix Suns, 108-98 at Oracle Arena.

Stephen Curry hit two critical hoops late in the game and Andrew Bogut thrilled the home fans with undoubtedly his best outing of the season, but they couldn't overshadow the performance of Thompson on a night -- Klay Thompson Bobblehead Night -- that was destined to be special regardless of the outcome.

"It's crazy to think I have a bobblehead now. It was kind of a pinch-yourself moment," gushed Thompson, who swished his first six shots to help the Warriors build an early lead they never relinquished. "I used to collect bobbleheads -- especially baseball ones -- as a kid, so it's pretty cool."

The blue-and-white-clad new addition to the second-year standout's trophy case might become a real collectors' item if the Warriors deal him before Thursday's deadline. The most hotly rumored destination has been New Orleans, as part of a package to acquire established star Eric Gordon.

Even after his third-best scoring night of the season, Thompson seemed resigned to the possibility of being elsewhere before Friday's game against the San Antonio Spurs.

"I love being here. I feel I belong here," he said. "If I'm in trade talk, I must be doing something right because it means other teams want you."

Thanks also in large part to two huge hoops by Curry, the Warriors (31-23) never trailed in the second half and held on to win a game coach Mark Jackson had labeled beforehand as the club's "biggest" of the season. They hadn't won since beating the Suns 113-93 at home on Feb. 2.

A follow shot by Jermaine O'Neal had Phoenix within 94-90 with 4:17 to go, but after a timeout, Curry went one-on-one with Goran Dragic and banked in a tough left-hander over his point-guard rival for the hoop that righted the Warriors' ship.

When Curry buried a 3-pointer on the next possession, the Warriors were well on their way to ending the season-worst losing streak and turning their attention to trade rumors.

"If you are a legitimate player, your phone is going to ring," Jackson said of the Thompson trade rumors while never denying the former lottery pick's name has been floated. "I think he made a statement tonight."

Thompson was hardly a one-way show on his big night. Backcourt mates Jarrett Jack (21 points) and Curry (20) also scored big, and David Lee contributed his nightly double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

Also starring in a major role was Bogut, who was playing on back-to-back nights for the first time since reinjuring his left ankle in November. He logged 29 minutes, helping the cause with seven points, 11 rebounds, five assists, three blocked shots and numerous defensive challenges around the hoop.

"It's still coming together," Bogut downplayed one night after being critical of his lackluster performance in Golden State's loss at Utah. "I can affect the game in many different ways."

Dragic led the Suns, who were coming off a 102-98 win at Portland on Tuesday night, with 20 points, 10 assists and five steals. O'Neal also recorded a double-double off the bench, with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

"Two nights in a row, he's had two of the toughest guards in the West and he went toe-to-toe with both of them," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said of Dragic, who had 16 points and 18 assists in his head-to-head with Trail Blazers standout Damian Lillard on Tuesday. "That's what it's going to take (for the team to be successful), and it's going to take a collective effort from all of us."

Jared Dudley added 15 points and Luis Scola 14 for the Suns, who like the Warriors left the arena knee-deep in rumors. In Phoenix's case, one trade appears to be a done deal, with the Suns reportedly acquiring Marcus Morris from the Rockets in a three-team deal at the cost of a second-round draft pick.

The Suns couldn't comment on the move, one that would reunite brothers Marcus and Markieff Morris, pending the formal completion of the trade Thursday.

NOTES: The Warriors have beaten the Suns five in a row over the past two seasons, their longest winning streak over the Pacific Division rival since a five-gamer that bridged the 1975-76 and '76-77 seasons. ... The Warriors had given up an average of 117.5 points in their six consecutive losses, including 116, 116 and 115 in their previous three games. ... The Suns are now 0-3 on the road on the nights after road wins, losing those games by an average of 19.7 points. ... Despite the losing streak, Jackson admitted making a change in his starting lineup "never entered my mind." Instead, he said his players would be on a "shorter leash," adding, "No threats. ... Our margin of error is different because we're not playing the same." ... Jackson noted after the game he had Thompson sign two bobbleheads that were destined for the coach's youngest children back home in New York.
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