Behind Klay Thompson’s 32 points and Kevin Durant’s 33 points, the Golden State Warriors were able to hold off the Los Angeles Clippers 113-105 to take a 3-1 series lead in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.
Despite the back and forth action throughout, the Warriors were able to pull away late in the third quarter to push the series further in their favor.
Thompson exploded for 32 points on a night where Stephen Curry scored just 12 points on 3-of-14 shooting. Curry did have 10 rebounds and seven assists, along with his 12 points for a double-double.
“Tough day for Steph, but this is the way the game goes,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told reporters. “Guys sometimes have a huge night, sometimes they struggle.”
Kerr noted that great players bounce back quickly from tough games and he expects Curry to be back in form on Wednesday for Game 4.
Thompson’s 32 points came on 12-of-20 shooting, including 6 of 9 from the 3-point line. Thompson scored 12, 17 and 12 in the first three game of the series. Kerr wasn’t surprised by Thompson’s big night as he was due to break out.
“It didn’t surprise me at all, he kinda had a quiet first few games of the series, so it [was] only a matter of time [until] he broke out,” Kerr told reporters.
Thompson was less acceptive of praise during postgame media interviews, telling reporters, “I didn’t do anything special, I was just getting open and knocking down shots.”
Instead, he deferred praise to his teammates. “Give credit to my teammates,” Thompson added. “I got a lot of good shots off [of] offensive rebounds and shots from the offense.”
Durant added seven rebounds and six assists to his 33-point game.
Rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Clippers with 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting, 3 of 5 from the 3-point line.
The Clippers were also helped by Danilo Gallinari, who contributed 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Patrick Beverley added a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double to go along with five assists and three blocks.
The two teams will meet again in Oakland on Wednesday, where the Warriors will have a chance to close out the series and move on in the Western Conference playoffs.
The last time the Warriors played in Oakland, they suffered a second-half collapse that saw the Clippers post the largest comeback in NBA playoff history. The Clippers rallied from 31 points down to even the series 1-1 before returning to Los Angeles.
Golden State will look to avoid another dramatic collapse while the Clippers will look to stay alive.
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