Thompson's 3-pointer, clutch defense lift Warriors over Kings

Dave Del Grande, Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- If there's two things Klay Thompson has learned in its first two NBA seasons, the first is to have a short memory.
And the second? Keep your celebrations short, because someone is always looking to rain on your parade.
Thompson made up for a critical miss late in the game Wednesday with big-time plays at both ends of the court, the most important being a 3-pointer from the right wing with 7.5 seconds remaining that rallied the Golden State Warriors to an 87-83 victory over the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings appeared primed to win a third consecutive game over their Northern California rivals after newcomer Patrick Patterson's 3 at the 1:25 mark gave Sacramento its first lead of the final period, 83-82.
Thompson had a chance to put the Warriors back on top with 37.9 seconds remaining, but his 17-footer missed the mark and was rebounded by the Kings.
"At first it bothered me," the shooting guard said of his contribution to three consecutive Warriors misses after they had gone up 82-78 on a Stephen Curry 3 with 2:59 to go. "You've got to forget about it. It's all about the next defensive possession."
Sure enough, the Warriors gave themselves another chance when they forced Toney Douglas into a long jumper, which he missed. Andrew Bogut's eighth rebound of the night gave the Warriors the ball and 15.2 seconds within which to get the game-winner.
The strategy at Mark Jackson's timeout? Get a good shot, no matter when or where.
"The luxury we have on this team is we have options," the coach said. "We have five guys on the court who can make shots, and that's what we tried to utilize."
Three of the five contributed to Thompson's game-winner, with Curry taking the inbounds pass and finding an open David Lee, who in turn drew the defense and located Thompson on the right wing.
"It was a great look. A pretty easy shot, honestly," Thompson said of his first-ever NBA game-winner. "I got a great pass."
Alas, the Kings had 7.5 seconds with which to possibly continue their season mastery of the Warriors, and they elected to go for the tie, with Tyreke Evans driving on Thompson.
But his contested eight-footer clanked off the rim, and when Draymond Green secured the rebound, got fouled and iced things with two free throws, the Warriors had a second consecutive win to begin their seven-game homestand.
"He's really a strong right-handed driver," Thompson said of Evans. "I just wanted to contest the shot. That's all I could do."
In the end, Jackson's strategy to go for the lead early on the last possession rather than wait and go for the win proved successful.
"The belief is, offensively, to get a quality look and trust your defense," the Warriors coach explained. "If it's not Toney Douglas defending Stephen Curry, you probably nurse it and go for the last shot."
The Warriors (35-27) won despite shooting just 36.0 percent, committing 18 turnovers and getting a 3-for-11 shooting night from Curry.
"It was a struggle," the Warriors' Jackson said. "We are not the Miami Heat. We are not the Oklahoma City. A lot of nights, it is not going to be pretty."
Thompson led the Warriors with 20 points, hitting four of 10 3-point attempts. Lee contributed his eighth consecutive double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Jason Thompson, whose 16-footer set up Patterson's late 3-pointer and got the Kings within 82-80 with 1:55 to go, paced Sacramento with 17 points. Patterson added 15 off the bench.
Kings coach Keith Smart had no complaints about Evans' potential game-tying drive to the hoop.
"We got what we wanted," he said. "We got one of our best drivers. He got to the rim and expected something to happen there. Sometimes you get a call there, and sometimes you don't."
The Kings didn't get many calls all night. They went to the free throw line just 12 times, compared to Golden State's 29 attempts.
"The free throw discrepancy was pretty alarming for us when we were driving to the basket," Smart noted. "But that's the way the game went."
Evans, who missed 10 of his 14 shots on a nine-point night, also shook his head about the no-call.
"I wasn't expecting to get a call at the end of the game, especially being on the road," he said. "I think I did my part to get in the lane."
The Warriors held the lead for most of the second half thanks to a 9-0 run late in the third quarter that was highlighted by a key sequence from an unusual source.
After a Klay Thompson 3 had helped the Warriors break a tie and go up 62-56, the Kings went inside to big man DeMarcus Cousins, who was rejected at the rim by Golden State backup Festus Ezeli.
The Warriors' rookie then found the ball in his hands under the Golden State hoop about 20 seconds later, with Cousins primed to get his revenge. But Ezeli shielded a left-handed layup with his body, getting the hoop and a foul on the Sacramento big guy.
Ezeli completed a three-point play with the free throw, giving Golden State its biggest lead of the second half at 65-56.
Marcus Thornton and Evans scored the first two hoops of the fourth quarter, however, getting Sacramento to within 69-67, and the Warriors' biggest lead after that was just seven points.
NOTES: The win was the Warriors' first when shooting 36.0 percent or lower since Feb. 24, 2003, when they beat Denver despite connecting on just 35.8 percent of their shots. ... The last time a Warriors-Kings game resulted in both teams scoring fewer than 90 points was when Rochester beat Philadelphia 82-79 on March 6, 1957. ... The Kings had 94-92 and 131-127 home wins over the Warriors in November and December. ... In a rivalry dating back to 1948, the Warriors now lead the series 185-184. ... The Warriors will return to their sleeved yellow jerseys Friday night when they host the Rockets. ... The Warriors announced Tuesday they will play two preseason games against the Lakers in China next season -- Oct. 15 in Beijing and Oct. 18 in Shanghai.

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