Klay Thompson broke out of his shooting slump in a big way Saturday night in Golden State’s 122-109 win over Milwaukee. Thompson dropped 38 points on the Bucks with six rebounds and five assists, connecting on eight three-pointers in the process.
Thompson looked more comfortable on the court than he has at any point in his comeback thus far, and even mentioned getting looks within the flow of the offense and letting the game come to him. This offensive output by Thompson couldn’t have come at a better time, or against a better opponent than the defending champion Bucks. He’d been in a shooting funk over his last 10 games heading into Saturday night, shooting just 33 percent from long range. In this game, Thompson shot over 57 percent from behind the arc.
This performance comes just 22 games into Klay’s return after missing the previous two seasons with ACL and Achilles injuries. Klay was in such a zone that he even joked about going for 40 in the postgame presser.
“I really wanted 40 points,” Thompson said after the game. “Thirty-eight is great, but 40 just sounds better.”
Anyone who’s watched Thompson for any amount of time knows he isn’t joking. He wanted that 40-point game. He’d already scored 21 and hit five threes by halftime. There’s no doubt he wanted to cap that win off by dropping his first 40 since Jan. 21, 2019, when he gave the Lakers a 44-piece spicy chicken nugget meal with extra BBQ sauce.
This type of confidence is a good sign for a Warriors team that has struggled over the last two months. And those struggles just happen to coincide with the absence of Draymond Green, who’s been rehabbing a back injury. But Green is due to return to the lineup on Monday in San Francisco against the Washington Wizards. The enforcer is coming back, and it’s time to get this ship straightened out and headed back in the right direction.
If the Warriors are going to make any real noise past the first round of the playoffs, they’ll need Thompson to continue his improvement in getting back to championship form. They’ll also need Steph Curry to get back on track as well since he’s struggled for a good portion of the year at this point. But the Warriors are dangerous offensively, as witnessed against the Bucks, as this was the first start for their three-guard lineup of Curry, Thompson, and Jordan Poole. Jordan also had a big game in the victory, scoring 30-points.
Golden State just needs to stay the course and get healthy as they make their way to the postseason. It seems highly likely that they’re on a collision course with the Memphis Grizzlies for a second-round matchup in the Western Conference playoffs. Right now, these teams are tied at 46-22 for the No. 2 seed, with Memphis holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over Golden State. They have one more regular-season game to play against one another on Mar. 28 in Memphis. Both teams currently trail the Phoenix Suns by 7.5 games with 14 remaining. It’s doubtful either will catch the Suns.
Should the Warriors be able to get and stay healthy throughout the postseason, I still expect them to be playing in the WCF and most likely against Phoenix. Though their most challenging obstacle along the way will be the Grizzlies, I’ll take the championship experience of Steph, Klay, and Draymond over just about any squad that crosses their path. When everything is on the line, the splash brothers are still the best backcourt in the NBA. I said what I said.