Klay Thompson caught fire Thursday, drilling eight of Golden State’s 21 three-pointers in a crushing 127-100 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers that leveled their NBA Western Conference semi-final at one game apiece.
Thompson scored 30 points in three quarters for the defending champions, who put on an offensive clinic while limiting Anthony Davis, engine of the Lakers’ game-one victory, to 11 points and seven rebounds.
Thompson’s hot-shooting night let Stephen Curry focus on directing a silky-smooth Warriors offense.
Curry scored a modest 20 points — including a trio of tough three-pointers — while handing out 12 assists, his most in the playoffs since 2014.
“We realized we let one go in game one,” Thompson told broadcaster ESPN. “(We) came out, our offense was flowing, turnovers were low, hitting the open man — we keep it simple the floodgates can open.”
They did, with Golden State scoring 41 points in the second quarter and 43 in the third to push their lead to 30 points heading into the final period.
LeBron James started strong, sinking 14 points in the opening quarter as the Lakers built a 33-26 lead.
But he added just seven in the second period and two in the third before he and Davis sat out the entire fourth quarter, along with the rest of the Lakers starters.
Draymond Green scored 11 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and handed out nine assists while spearheading the Warriors’ defense of Davis with ailing center Kevon Looney coming off the bench instead of starting.
Looney’s replacement in the starting lineup, JaMychal Green, made just his second start of the season and scored 15 points in 13 minutes.
The Warriors seized control in the second quarter as Thompson drained four three-pointers on the way to 14 points.
Golden State used a 10-2 scoring run, capped by Thompson’s three-pointer off a pass from Curry, to regain the lead early in the second quarter and after the Lakers twice drew level Golden State relentlessly pulled away, building a 67-56 halftime lead.
“I think going to halftime, when they made that run, it kind of got away from us,” Davis said.
The Warriors kept it rolling in the third with a 15-8 scoring run.
They out-rebounded the Lakers 55-40 and handed out a total of 38 assists.
“I thought we just played simple basketball,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Kept our turnovers down, moved the ball. Our guys were playing with a lot of force, a lot of aggressiveness, but making good decisions within that aggression.
“That’s the key, can you find that balance,” Kerr said.
“I thought Steph was brilliant,” Kerr added. “In the first half, he wasn’t really going, like, offensively. But he was just running our team. Klay got it going and our defense was kind of fueling our offense.”
James’ biggest scoring support came from Rui Hachimura, who added 21 points off the bench for the Lakers.
Both he and Davis said the Lakers would regroup and be ready to regain the initiative when they host game three of the best-of-seven series on Saturday.
“They made the adjustments,” James said. “We knew they were going to do that, that’s what a championship team does. They held serve on their home court tonight … we’ve got to make our adjustments for game three.”
Thompson said the Warriors would expect no less.
“I don’t think it sends much of a message,” Thompson said of the lopsided victory. We know LeBron’s seen it all. AD has seen it all.
“It’s 1-1 at the end of the day. We’ve got to go to LA and get one and go from there.”
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