Klay Thompson enjoyed a brief trip to the Pacific Ocean on Saturday and Golden State enjoyed the results a day after in Los Angeles.
Kevin Durant scored 33 points and Thompson added 32 in route to the Warriors taking a commanding 3-1 series lead, defeating the Los Angeles Clippers 113-105 on Sunday in the first-round of the NBA playoffs.
“Both of them were fantastic,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said on Durant and Thompson’s performances.
“When Klay gets going like that, it fuels the whole bench. You can see everybody jumping around. Everybody gets happy. We all love when Klay gets hot. It fuels our momentum. It didn’t surprise me at all. He kind of had a quiet first few games of the series, so it was only a matter of time until he broke out,” Kerr added.
Stephen Curry had 12 points on 3 of 14 shooting, but still managed to affect the game with 10 rebounds and seven assists.
Thompson combined for only 42 points in the first three games of the series, but caught fire from three-point distance, making 6 of 9 shots after his sunshine visit.
“I didn’t think I had bad games, but I didn’t have any big games,” Thompson said on his play thus far in the series.
“I told Jonas [Jerebko on Saturday] — we went to the beach and played some volleyball — I’m like, ‘Yo, I’m just going to jump in the ocean, and I just know that will reset my mind.’ And it worked.”
Rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Clippers with a career-high 25 points. However, Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams combined to shoot 7 of 30 from the field for 16 and 12 points, respectively. Patrick Beverley had 12 and 10 rebounds in a team-high 36 minutes played.
“I don’t like losing, period, in anything, and so– but my guess is we did make some mistakes,” said Clippers head coach Doc Rivers. “There’s no doubt about that. But overall, I loved how we fought. I loved how we kept coming back. You have to against them. I didn’t think any of our guys were fazed when one of their guys made a shot or made a great play. We went right back at them. I think that’s how you have to play them.”
Thompson scored 17 of the Warriors 32 first quarter points and held a 10 point lead, 32-22 through 12 minutes of play.
The Clippers opened the second with a 13-3 run to tie the game up at 35-all, but Warriors responded with a 20-10 run of their own.
With four seconds left in the quarter, Durant completed a four-point play to extend the lead to eight at halftime.
Los Angeles went on to outscore the Warriors 30-25 in the third and rallied to take a five-point advantage.
“This team was just looking for a crack,” Durant said on the Clippers. “They don’t stop. Even when you go home after the game you’re going to be thinking of them because they’re tough.”
With 3:57 left in the third, Curry scored 7 of the next 10 points for Golden State and they retook the lead, 87-84 heading into the fourth.
Midway through the final period, Durant sunk a 3-pointer, stretching the Warrior’s lead to eight. He then responded with a 5-1 run, drilling another deep three, followed by a vicious dunk that seemingly ended the game, leading 113-101 with 1:31 remaining.
“I think it just comes down to putting four good quarters together,” said Williams. “You can’t really have stretches where you don’t play good basketball because they make you pay every time you do that. It showed tonight.”
Game 5 is Wednesday at Oracle arena, where Los Angeles will attempt to extend the series against the two-time defending champions.
A win over Golden State Wednesday would set up a Game 6 Friday night at Staples Center, while a loss, nonetheless, would end an incredible season by the gritty Clippers.