Klay Thompson and the Golden State Warriors rose to the occasion with the Phoenix Suns in town on Monday night, using a scintillating start to beat their division rivals 123-112. The victory marks the defending champions’ ninth straight at Chase Center, pushing their home record to 29-7, fourth-best in the NBA.
Everyone knows by now why Golden State remains mired in the Western Conference playoff muck despite dominating in San Francisco since the season tipped off. It was just 10 days ago the Warriors were riding high off a five-game home winning streak, awaiting Steph Curry’s return from injury for their first matchup of a three-game road trip. But they returned to the Bay winless, making their road record 7-26, worst in the league among teams competing for the postseason.
Don’t tell Thompson a frustratingly familiar fate will befall Golden State on its upcoming five-game road trip, though.
“I think we’re going to do it with these next five games. I think we’re gonna come out of this road trip with a lot of great momentum,” he said on the postgame podium. “And although history this season has been not so good to us, I think it’s our time to ramp up our ability to win games.”
Who could deny Thompson’s wide-eyed optimism after his outburst on Monday?
He scored a game-high 38 points against the Suns, exploding for 33 points and all eight of his three-pointers in the first half alone. Thompson never forced the issue once the hot hand left him after halftime, either, content to play a supporting role offensively despite Phoenix’s spirited third quarter comeback. He took just five shots in the second half, a result of the Suns committing to keep the ball out of his hands and Thompson simply letting the game come to him and making the right play.
Needless to say, similar performances from Thompson would go a long way toward Golden State finally righting its ship away from the friendly confines of Chase Center. We’ll start to find out on Wednesday, when the Warriors meet the LA Clippers in a pivotal battle for playoff positioning, if Thompson’s confidence proves prophetic.