The Warriors’ longest losing streak since their Stephen Curry-less lottery 2019-20 season is over.
To prevent a seventh consecutive defeat, the Warriors got an all-hands effort with five players scoring in double digits. They hit a season-high 21 3-pointers, dominating from the outside against a Rockets team on the second night of a back-to-back.
Despite fantastic shooting, the Warriors (7-8) never created significant separation from the frisky Rockets. But they held Houston off just enough in the fourth quarter to escape with a 121-116 victory. Curry closed the game out, scoring 32 points on 8-for-14 shooting.
Here are three takeaways from the Warriors’ victory.
More ups and downs for Klay
Both Klay Thompson and the Warriors made a concerted effort to get the shooting guard going — practically doing whatever it takes to manufacture a rhythm.
Thompson entered Monday night with career-worst shooting splits. His 14 points per game were his lowest since he was a rookie.
Before the game, head coach Steve Kerr reiterated that there’s value in being patient with veteran, championship-caliber players like Thompson and Andrew Wiggins, both of whom have struggled to start the year. Kerr knows a thing or two.
From the start, Thompson was as aggressive seeking his shot as he has been this season. He took eight of Golden State’s first 11 shots. He hit a corner 3 after losing Jalen Green on a simple flex cut, drilled a wide open one on the wing after beautiful ball movement and freed himself again for a triple by slipping a ball screen.
After every make, Thompson shot again, which wasn’t always pretty. Twice he attempted ill-advised jump shots in the post over Fred VanVleet, both of which clanked. He was hunting.
An and-1 floater through Dillon Brooks gave Thompson 12 points in eight minutes on nine shots.
After going scoreless in the second quarter, Thompson started the second half searching for his shot again. He hit a reload 3 that should’ve been negated for a travel, then hit a one-handed push shot over the 6-foot-11 Jabari Smith at the shot clock horn.
Thompson hit a leaning 3 with 6:59 left in the fourth quarter to give him his first 20-point game of the season. Two minutes later, he air-mailed a 3.
For a moment, it looked like the Warriors were going to get a vintage Klay Game. That didn’t materialize, but he still produced much more than he has so far this year.
Chris Paul, fitting in
It can’t be easy for Chris Paul, the 12-time All-Star and surefire first ballot Hall of Famer, to toggle between bench and starting roles, play with varying supporting casts and off the ball more than usual. He has admitted as much.
But he’s as equipped to figure it all out as anyone. His basketball I.Q. is stupendous, and he has been willing to change his play style as his career advances.
Paul, starting in place of Draymond Green, played nearly flawless basketball. He racked up seven assists to no turnovers in the first half, adding two steals and four rebounds. In his 17 first-half minutes, he was a team-high +15.
Paul hit a 3 and added another assist to start the second half, padding his perfect passer rating Brock Purdy would be jealous of.
The point guard finished with 15 points, 12 assists, six rebounds and one turnover. There was a reason Paul, not Curry or Thompson, got the honors of the on-court postgame interview on the home broadcast; the Warriors were at their best with him on the floor.
The 3-point equalizer
The Warriors got outscored in the paint 54 to 18. They took 19 fewer field goals than Houston, losing the possession battle.
But that doesn’t matter when the Warriors shoot like they did on Tuesday.
The Warriors sank 21 of 43 3-point attempts for a season-high 48.8% rate. Curry and Thompson hit five apiece, and Dario Sarci (18 points) added three off the bench.
Thompson’s 3-pointer in the fourth quarter gave the Warriors a 105-93 lead and brought GSW’s total on the night to 19-for-36 (52.8%) to that point.
The Warriors are now 6-2 in games that they shot at least 35% from deep. The flipside is that gives them a 1-5 record in cold shooting games.
It’s obvious that making more 3s helps any team win games. And the Warriors should be an efficient 3-point shooting team. But they’ll need to find ways to win when their shots aren’t falling, too.