Warriors observations: Klay Thompson erupts for 54 in wild double OT win

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What we learned as Klay erupts for 54 in wild double OT win originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Warriors' start to 2023 was much like 2022. This team can't keep things simple and easy.

They once led by as many as 21 points. A buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Donte DiVincenzo at the end of regulation tied it all up. Two overtimes later, Kevon Looney beat the buzzer this time, giving the Warriors an absolutely wild 143-141 win over the Atlanta Hawks in double overtime.

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Klay Thompson had Chase Center going bonkers, scoring 54 points. That's his second-most ever in a single game, and his most since his two brutal leg injuries. He went 21-for-39 from the field and 10-for-21 on 3-pointers, also adding seven rebounds.

Jordan Poole scored 28 points, but was an ugly 11-for-31 from the field and 2-for-12 from deep. He also turned the ball over six times.

On a night where the Warriors (20-18) were more than shorthanded, Anthony Lamb was the first player off their bench. For good reasons, too. Lamb scored 17 points, grabbed seven rebounds and added four assists.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors' fifth straight win.

Klay's Continued Hot Start

How can the Warriors get points on the scoreboard without Steph Curry and Andrew Wiggins? Thompson recently has been getting Curry's rotation, meaning he plays the entire first quarter. That appears to be working pretty well, too.

Through the first 12 minutes Monday night, he scored 16 points -- going 6-for-9 from the field and 4-for-6 on 3-point attempts. This isn't anything new. Over Klay's last three games, he has been red-hot early on.

He scored 14 first-quarter points against the Charlotte Hornets and 15 vs. the Portland Trail Blazers before his 16 on the Hawks. That's 45 first-quarter points in Thompson's last three games. It's not like he has been chucking during this stretch either. Instead, it has been efficient shooting.

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Over those three quarters, Thompson has shot 68 percent from the field (17-for-25) and 61.1 percent beyond the arc (11-for-18).
His scoring certainly didn't stop after the first quarter against the Hawks. Thompson's 54 points gave him four games of scoring 50 or more points in his career, and he also now has made at least 10 3-pointers in a game seven times. What a performance.

PBJ Is Here To Stay

As he shuttles between Santa Cruz and San Francisco, one thing has been evident with Patrick Baldwin Jr.: He belongs.

The Warriors rookie sat the first quarter but started the second, and immediately made an impact. Baldwin wound up playing slightly over five minutes in the quarter and scored eight points. He went 3-for-6 shooting overall in those five minutes, and made two of his five 3-point attempts.

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Baldwin also recorded one block in the second quarter, and a questionable foul call took away another.

After sitting all of the third quarter, Kerr turned to Baldwin to begin the fourth. The 20-year-old already has given Kerr enough trust to let him play the first five-plus minutes of crunch time. It wasn't until the 6:21 mark that Kevon Looney replaced Baldwin.

At 6-foot-9, at least, Baldwin gives the Warriors a stretch-forward who can let it fly from deep. There's no questioning his Basketball IQ already at such a young age. His development and leash this season will be fascinating to watch.

Tale Of Two Halves, Plus OT

Everything that was going right for the Warriors in the first half, went wrong in the second. Everything.

The ball was moving in those first two quarters with the Warriors handing out 20 assists on 27 made shots. Then in the final two quarters, that number was cut in half. The Warriors only had 10 assists, and made only 17 shots.

In the first half, the Warriors had seven turnovers. They then turned the ball over nine times in the second half, with Poole losing the ball with only 12.1 seconds left being the biggest. The Warriors were down by only one point before giving it back to the Hawks.

While the Warriors went 10-for-22 behind the 3-point line in the first half, the Hawks were an ugly 2-for-16. But then in the second half, the Warriors made just five of their 24 3-point attempts, and the Hawks turned it on -- going 7-for-12.

A Lamb hustle rebound turned bad turnover with 35 seconds looked to have been terribly costly for the Warriors in overtime. Klay Thompson had other plans. And then, Trae Young once again found his way to the free-throw line. Double overtime.

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All that matters in overtime is fight and hustle. Nobody exudes that more than Looney and Draymond Green. The Warriors shot a franchise record 59 3-pointers. Green didn't take any of the first 57. But on the 58th, he splashed down his biggest of the season. 
Fittingly, on Looney's 20th rebound of the night, his put-back at the buzzer won it for the Warriors.

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