The reserves for the 2016 NBA All-Star Game will be announced Thursday night on TNT. Klay Thompson left no doubt he should be one of the seven players selected to the Western Conference with a masterful performance Wednesday night at Oracle Arena.
Thompson scored a season-high 45 points and the Golden State Warriors avenged one of their four losses this season with a wire-to-wire 127-107 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Thompson shot 14-of-20 from the field, 7-of-12 from 3-point range and 10-of-10 from the free-throw line.
“It was nice to see the ball go in a lot,” Thompson said. “I felt like I was due for a game like that in the last couple of weeks. It was important to get the win and not have a letdown game after such an emotional night Monday.”
“What I was thrilled about tonight was his movement without the ball,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He opened up the game by really cutting, coming hard off screens and curling. All those layups he got gave him the confidence on the jumper.”
Golden State improved to 42-4, including 22-0 at home. The Warriors have won 40 straight regular-season home games. They tied the 1994-95/1995-96 Orlando Magic for the second-longest streak in NBA history.
“40 wins in a row is amazing,” Kerr said. “We did make that a priority at the beginning of last season to dominate our home floor. But winning 40 in a row is remarkable.”
Thompson scored 12 points, Harrison Barnes added five and Golden State jumped out to a 20-6 lead midway through the opening quarter. It looked as if the Warriors would steamroll the shorthanded Mavericks, who played without Dirk Nowitzki (rest), Zaza Pachulia (leg) and Devin Harris (toe).
With Stephen Curry struggling on 1-of-8 shooting and Draymond Green playing just eight minutes due to picking up three fouls, the Warriors couldn’t pull away. Dallas cut the deficit to two late in the first half. But the Mavericks weren’t able to stop Thompson, who scored 10 points in the final 2:34 to help Golden State rebuilt a 56-48 lead at halftime.
“I know I was having a good night when I was getting to the rim,” Thompson said. “Being patient with the ball, not letting it stick to my hands, but passing and cutting.”
Kerr wasn’t surprised by his team’s struggles in the first half. The Warriors were coming off a big win over the San Antonio Spurs. The calendar still reads January and they were playing a team missing their best player.
“This is kind of a human nature game,” Kerr said. “It happens to everybody. No Dirk. Maybe subconsciously you let your guard down a little bit.”
The Mavericks’ hope of upsetting Golden State for a second time this season ended in the third quarter. Curry found his shooting touch. Green stayed out of foul trouble. The duo combined to score 21 points on 7-of-7 shooting from the field, including 5-of-5 from 3-point range. The Warriors went on a 19-4 run during a 3:58 stretch to pull away from Dallas for good.
“The good thing was we played a clean game,” Kerr said. “We only turned it over nine times. Our defensive intensity was nowhere to be found. But in a game like this, when the other team is shorthanded and maybe you don’t have all your energy, you’ve got to take care of the ball and be smart. I thought we did a good job of that and that allowed us to break free.”
Curry finished with 14 points, nine assists and three steals. It was the second-lowest scoring output for the reigning MVP. Barnes scored 13 points. Green added 10 points, four assists and three steals. The Warriors also got 41 points from the bench, including two from rookie Kevon Looney, who played in his first career NBA game since being drafted with the 30th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Looney underwent hip surgery in August.
“It was surreal,” Looney said. “I’ve never played in front of a crowd like that. So to be in front of Oracle for the first time and playing on the court was amazing.”
With Green in foul trouble and Festus Ezeli (knee) and James Michael McAdoo (toe) injured, Looney was pressed into action in the second quarter. The UCLA product scored his first basket with 2:16 left in the game on a play drew up for him by assistant coach Luke Walton. Looney finished with two points and two rebounds in 5:59 of action.
“I didn’t expect to have a play draw up for me on my first bucket,” Looney said. “I thought it might be a drop off or something. But coach Luke looked out for me, drew up a play for me and I took advantage of it.”
“It was good to get him out there,” Kerr said. “He’s done a nice job in Santa Cruz. He’s still not where he needs to be conditioning wise coming off the surgery and all the inactivity.”
Looney was presented with the game ball afterwards and was forced by Green to make a speech. Looney plans of giving the ball to his parents.
“They always liked to framed the good stuff I do,” Looney said. “So they will probably frame it.”
Golden State shot a season-high 58 percent and finished with 33 assists. The Warriors are the first team since the 1994-95 Magic to have five straight games of 30 or more assists.
Chandler Parson led Dallas (26-22) with 23 points and seven rebounds. J.J. Barea had 14 points. Raymond Felton and Deron Williams scored 12 points apiece. The Mavericks shot 50.6 percent and committed just 10 turnovers. The Warriors have allowed Dallas to shoot over 50 percent in both games this season.
2015-16 Golden State Warriors 42-4
1995-96 Chicago Bulls 41-5