Klay Thompson scores 25, Stephen Curry blanked in first half as Warriors beat Wizards 123-112

Wed, Feb 28, 2024
NBA News (AP)

Klay Thompson scores 25, Stephen Curry blanked in first half as Warriors beat Wizards 123-112

WASHINGTON (AP) - Klay Thompson was asked, again, how it feels to be coming off the bench after the Golden State Warriors improved to 6-1 over the past month in games he's entered as a reserve.

"Tell 'em it don't matter, Klay! Starter or not! It don't matter!" teammate Gary Payton II shouted across the Warriors' locker room.

Thompson scored 25 points on a forgettable evening for Stephen Curry, fellow reserve Chris Paul demonstrated his value to the Warriors in his first game in seven weeks, and Golden State beat the Washington Wizards 123-112 on Tuesday night.

"You've got two Hall of Famers in the backcourt coming off the bench," Thompson said. "That's such a rare feat, so we take pride in that."

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Curry was held scoreless in the first half for the first time in the regular season since Nov. 23, 2012, against Denver. He missed his first seven shots, six from 3-point range - and three of them airballs, including a 32-foot heave at the halftime buzzer.

Curry got on the board with a 3-pointer 53 seconds into the third quarter and the Warriors went on to outscore the overmatched Wizards 38-17 in the period. He finished with 18 points and shot 4 of 16 on 3-pointers while the rest of the Warriors went 17 for 30 from beyond the arc.

Jonathan Kuminga added 21 points for Golden State, which has won 11 of 14 and moved into ninth place in the Western Conference, percentage points ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Thompson finished 6 of 11 on 3-pointers and had 13 points in the third quarter - including two 3s assisted by Paul.

"Makes my life much easier. Much easier," Thompson said. "Just his ability to read the game, hit me in stride, on time, on target. Probably one of the best in history at doing that."

Tyus Jones had a career-high 17 assists while scoring 14 points for the Wizards, whose season-long skid reached 12 games. Kyle Kuzma had 27 points and 12 rebounds, and Corey Kispert and Marvin Bagley III each scored 20 for Washington, which was missing two starters in Deni Avdija (left heel contusion) and rookie Bilal Coulibaly (right pelvic contusion).

Curry has failed to score before halftime 16 times in his career, including once in the playoffs - May 10, 2019, against Houston, when he scored 33 points in the second half and led the Warriors to a 118-113 victory. His other scoreless first halves all came during his first four seasons.

"You know he's going to make shots at some point," Wizards interim coach Brian Keefe said. "You know that's going to happen. ... He was 0 of 6 on 3-pointers in the first. That's not something you're going to count on that's going to sustain."

Paul, who missed 21 games with a fractured left hand that required surgery, played with the fresh legs of a rested 38-year-old. He was the catalyst for a 19-4 run in the second quarter that flipped a nine-point Warriors deficit into a six-point lead, with a 3-pointer, a steal, two assists and two rebounds. The 3 moved him past Steve Nash for 32nd in NBA history. He finished with nine points and six assists in 22 minutes.

While the pro-Warriors crowd turned out for Curry, it ended up cheering for Paul, who joined the Warriors in an offseason trade with Washington for Jordan Poole. Midway through the third quarter, Paul stood for a few seconds outside the arc, and when no one came out to guard him, swished a 3 that put Golden State ahead 85-71, walking to the bench with a bemused smile.

Late in the quarter, he calmly pointed his teammates to their spots on the floor while being guarded by Kispert, then lofted a perfect lob to Kuminga for a dunk and a 98-75 Warriors lead.

"As a team, as a unit, we have so much depth, so many different ways that we can play, it's going to take us a little while to figure it out," Paul said. "But obviously you want to figure it out and win at the same time."

Before the game, the Warriors announced a contract extension for coach Steve Kerr, which he confirmed was for two years. The AP previously reported it was for $35 million.

UP NEXT

Warriors: At New York on Thursday night for the second of their four-game East Coast swing.

Wizards: At the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night to begin a three-game trip out West.

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