LOS ANGELES: Klay Thompson flirted with breaking his own single-game three-pointer record before settling for 42 points as the Golden State Warriors routed the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday. Long-range specialist Thompson drained 12 shots from outside the arc with a vintage exhibition of shooting to power the Warriors to a 141-114 win. Thompson looked poised to beat his own NBA mark of 14 three-pointers in a single game, set in October 2018, but came up just short before exiting to a standing ovation at the Warriors Chase Center.
Thompson’s red-hot shooting was part of a stunning performance from three-point range by Golden State. The Warriors finished with 26 threes from 50 attempts – just three shy of the all-time single-game record of 29 set by Milwaukee in 2020. Thompson received scoring support from Jordan Poole (21 points, 12 assists and four rebounds) and Andrew Wiggins (18 points) as the Warriors shrugged off the injury absence of Steph Curry to score a resounding win.
Afterwards Thompson admitted he was hoping to have remained in the game before being withdrawn by Warriors coach Steve Kerr late in the fourth quarter. “I was campaigning for it – but we’ve got a quick turnaround with a game on Wednesday,” said Thompson. “And I don’t think the basketball gods like it when you chase records. Gotta let those happen organically,” he added. In Portland, the on-fire Milwaukee Bucks rolled to an eighth straight win to move within striking distance of Boston at the top of the Eastern Conference.
Brook Lopez scored 27 points while Giannis Antetokounmpo added 24 in a 127-108 Bucks win over the Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard led the Portland scoring with 28 points. In Detroit, Jayson Tatum’s 34-point haul led the way as the Boston Celtics tightened their grip on the top spot in the Eastern Conference with a 111-99 win over the Pistons. Tatum, who is averaging more than 30 points per game this season, also added 11 rebounds and six assists as the Celtics improved to 38-16 at the top of the East. Tatum received scoring support from Derrick White with 23 points, while Robert Williams III and Sam Hauser each added 15 off the bench as Boston bounced back from last Friday’s surprise defeat to Phoenix.
Tatum ‘wakes up’
Boston ace Tatum had struggled in the defeat to Phoenix, shooting only 3-for-15 from the field. That poor outing looked to be haunting Tatum in the first half against Detroit as he made only 3-for-13. But Tatum clicked into gear with an 18-point third quarter to guide Boston to victory. “I just had to wake up a little bit,” he told NBC Sports after the win. “I started off a little slow and I just had to get myself going. Because in the first half, I was stinking it up.”
Tatum, meanwhile, was pleased that Boston appeared to have bounced back after a recent dip in form that had seen them lose four of their previous six games. “We haven’t been playing as well as we’d like to lately,” he said. “Just had to respond and keep in mind what the goal is and keep working towards it.” Elsewhere on Monday, the Cleveland Cavaliers made it three consecutive wins in a wire-to-wire 114-91 win over the Washington Wizards. Cleveland’s balanced offense proved too much for Washington, with all of the Cavs’ starters finishing in double digits. Jarrett Allen and Darius Garland finished with 23 points apiece, while Donovan Mitchell scored 21.
In Brooklyn, meanwhile, Nets guard Cam Thomas erupted for 47 points, but it was not enough to prevent the home team slumping to a 124-116 defeat to the visiting Los Angeles Clippers. Thomas led the scoring with a total that included seven three-pointers, but Brooklyn were outgunned by a Clippers team hitting form at the right time. Veteran Paul George nailed 29 points for the Clippers, with Kawhi Leonard adding 24. Ivica Zubac chipped in with 19 points and hauled down 12 rebounds for Los Angeles, who are fourth in the Western Conference.
Suns president quits
In another development, Phoenix Suns president and chief executive Jason Rowley has resigned after a report into workplace misconduct allegations that led owner Robert Sarver to sell the NBA club, ESPN reported Monday. Rowley, who began working for the Suns in 2007 and served as president since 2012, had told employees he would not resign after ESPN’s report last December on Suns workplace complaints, many of which put Rowley at the center of the problem. News of Rowley’s departure came as the NBA’s Board of Governors approved the sale of the Phoenix Suns and women’s NBA Phoenix Mercury to an ownership group led by billionaire Mat Ishbia late Monday.
Suns staff learned about Rowley’s resignation in an email from team governor Sam Garvin, according to the latest report. “After almost 15 years of hard work and dedicated service, Jason felt that the transition in ownership created ideal timing to close this chapter of his professional journey and pursue new opportunities,” the email reportedly said. “We wish Jason the best and are appreciative of his tireless work on behalf of our organization.”
ESPN had detailed accusations of intimidation, harassment, verbal intimidation and retaliation of Suns team employees two months ago. That report led to an NBA investigation into the allegations that found racist and misogynist acts, prompting a one-year ban and $10 million fine for Sarver from the league. After several sponsors vowed not to support ownership in the wake of the misconduct, Sarver pledged to sell the team. – AFP