Thompson sparks Warriors' win over Nets

Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The guy mired in the worst shooting slump took more shots than any other Golden State Warrior on Wednesday night.
You'd never have guessed the outcome could be so good.
Klay Thompson finally displayed the touch that made him a lottery pick two years ago, burying five third-quarter hoops, including a pair of 3-pointers, as the Warriors took advantage of another poor post-halftime stretch by the Brooklyn Nets en route to a 102-93 victory at Oracle Arena.
The outcome was never in doubt after Thompson triggered a 14-3 pullaway to end the third quarter and build a 74-66 lead. But that certainly wasn't the case early on as the visiting Nets, enduring their first back-to-back of the season, watched Thompson start ice cold again while Brooklyn went up by as many as 13.
"I'd been in a slump once before like this, in my sophomore year in college," the Washington State product noted. "I know you go through tough times. It builds character."
Thompson was coming off a 2-for-14 nightmare in Monday's win at Dallas, extending a cold streak that dated back four games and had seen him miss 36 of 47.
When he started off 0-for-3 in the first four minutes Wednesday, the shooting guard did something the Nets probably were encouraging him to do: keep shooting.
"That's how I help the team win," Thompson said. "It was long overdue."
The Warriors never led until Carl Landry followed a Thompson 3 with an interior hoop with 2:42 left in the third quarter, pushing the home team on top 65-63 and on the way to a fourth win in the last five games.
Thompson then buried another 3 and added a short-range hoop before Stephen Curry dropped the hammer on the Nets with a rare four-point play, capping a 14-3 flurry that extended Golden State's advantage to 74-66 by third quarter's end.
The 3-pointer on which he drew a foul from C.J. Watson was "lucky," Curry claimed.
"I knew they had a foul to give," he said of a play that began with about a 40-foot dribble from 3-point line to 3-point line. "I didn't know where I was on the court, but when I saw him (Watson) come toward me, I just threw one up at the basket."
It has been that kind of season in the third quarter of games for the Nets, who began the game making the period a point of emphasis and flew home afterward further examining what went wrong. Again.
"We have to figure out how to change it up," Brooklyn coach Avery Johnson said of the third-quarter woes. "They had more energy than we did in the second half."
Interestingly, the third-quarter problem for the Nets wasn't the same as had plagued it in the previous five games, during which it had been held to an average of 17.0 points while being outscored 124-85. This time, it was a lack of defense (giving up 33 points) rather than an offensive dry spell (20).
"Our defense really had a low grade in the third quarter," Johnson noted.
The Nets played without Gerald Wallace, who was held out as a precaution to rest a sprained left ankle.
Brook Lopez led the team with 22 points, but the backcourt of Deron Williams (nine) and Joe Johnson (13), which entered the game as the league's second-highest-scoring tandem, got dominated by Warriors counterparts Curry (25) and Thompson (23) to the tune of 48-22.
"I played badly today, so a lot of tonight is my fault, especially in the second half," Williams said. "We just have to play better. I have to play better."
David Lee chipped in a 20-point, 13-rebound double-double for Golden State, which was beginning a stretch of five home games in six outings.
NOTES: Thompson's 23 points matched his season high. ... Curry missed the third of three free throws following a foul on a 3-point attempt in the second quarter, snapping his streak of successes at 32. ... The Nets flew home immediately after the game, having completed a 1-2 Western swing that tipped off with a win at Sacramento. ... The Warriors hope to have star center Andrew Bogut back at practice Monday. He missed his seventh straight game Wednesday as he continues to rehab his surgically repaired left ankle. The Warriors already have ruled Bogut out of their next two games -- Friday at Denver and Saturday at home against Minnesota. ... The Nets' Johnson downplayed his decision to give Wallace the night off: "Gerald doesn't have any setbacks. That's more for precautionary reasons." Wallace, the club's starting small forward, had played consecutive games over a three-night span after sitting out six in a row with a sprained left ankle. ... Warriors supersub Brandon Rush attended his first game since suffering a torn ACL in his left knee in the home opener on Nov. 2. ... Warriors coach Mark Jackson had an unusual take on Nets forward Reggie Evans becoming the first to be fined under the NBA's new anti-flopping policy: "Congratulations to Reggie. He'll go down in history. For $5,000 for a place in history, that's not bad at all."