If you have a few minutes, find the video in your favorite part of the stratosphere and relive one of the greatest shooting displays in the history of the NBA. But just know, it’s going to take time to watch each of Klay Thompson’s 14 three-pointers drip down.
The Golden State Warriors are a state-of-art brand. They are blessed with an amazing contingent of talent. And because they offer modern marvels such as Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, it’s possible Thompson’s flair for the spectacular might often be overlooked.
Like last Wednesday in Washington when Curry scored 51 in three quarters. Or last Friday at Madison Square Garden when Durant went off for 25 in the fourth quarter. You can understand why it might be tough to keep up with that brand of peer pressure.
But then came Monday in Chicago, the land of Jordan, Pippen, Chet Walker and Bob Love.
Thompson drained his league-record threes in 24 attempts and was 18-of-29 from the field, scoring 52 points in the Dubs’ 149-124 win. And he played only 27 minutes, none in the fourth quarter.
“I just knew I was due for a big night,” said Thompson. “I just knew it.”
Didn’t we all. When he’s on, watching Thompson shoot is like listening to Sinatra sing.
Here’s another reason to jump in the water with the Splash Brothers: They are now the only teammates in league history to each score at least 50 in the first eight games of a season.
The fun began right away. Thompson hit 10 threes in the first half, tying Chandler Parsons’ 2014 mark. He scored 36 in the half. The Dubs made 17 threes in the first half, also a league record.
They lead the Bulls 92-50 at the half. Not only was that a franchise-record for most points in a half, the 42-point lead was the fourth-largest going into halftime in the last 64 years.
“It’s one of the best feelings in basketball when you touch the ball and feel like it’s going in every time,” said Thompson.
It was Curry’s record that Thompson broke, another historical tidbit that will link them.
“It was like a pitcher throwing a no-hitter,” said Curry. “Like, you don’t really mention anything to him. It’s kind of just everybody else figuring out ways we’re going to keep feeding him the ball and running our offense to obviously cater to him to knock down shots.”
Adding to the incredulity was that Thompson was 5-of-36 from three in the first seven games. And he played a portion of the third with a headband covering a two-stitch head cut suffered in a collision with Dubs center Damian Jones with 9:51 to play in the period.
“Me and DJ ran into each other like a couple of idiots, but it happens,” said Thompson. “I wasn’t letting that stop me from attempting to get this record.”
Thompson has now scored at least 30 in one half four times. He has now scored at least 40 in game 11 times.
And now has now gone at least a half-Wilt (look it up, kids) three times. And only he (twice), Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers have ever done it in less than 30 minutes since the shot clock was turned on in 1954. Thompson’s personal high is 60, scored against the Indiana Pacers on Dec. 5, 2016.
The record three was launched from the right wing with 4:53 to play in the third quarter. That extended Golden State’s lead to a precarious 113-69. Game reports say Curry was so happy he gestured to the crowd, his arms stretch high.
“I looked like Jackie Moon out there,” Thompson said after the game about the headband. “That’s probably why I broke the record.”
Apparently, Thompson digs the cinema, too. This was a reference to the look Will Farrell sported in the movie “Semi-Pro.”
What made the performance especially gratifying, at least for Dubs’ fans, was the support Durant gave Thompson on Monday. Every time the ball found him, Durant did his best to find Thompson.
Note the way the ball moved on the record shot: Durant raced the ball up the floor while Curry set a down screen. Durant dished to Thompson who cranked it home from 27 feet.
“It’s what I do this for,” said Thompson. “It’s those moments we share with our teammates. … I don’t know if I would’ve been able to break these records I have gotten in my past, just like tonight, without the system I play in or the team I’m with or the guys I play with.”
Eventually, lost in translation will be that the Bulls were playing with just one horn. Kris Dunn, Bobby Portis, Denzel Valentine and Lauri Markkanen all missed the game.
“When Klay was searching for the record, it was uncomfortable for us as a staff,” said Dubs coach Steve Kerr. “But at the same time, we’re not going to tell him to go for an NBA record.”
Go for the record he did. Just imagine how many he might have made if he needed to play in the fourth quarter.