On-fire Thompson guns down Lakers with a vengeance

LOS ANGELES • Shorn of LeBron James, Rajon Rondo and Lonzo Ball, the Los Angeles Lakers had no defence for the long-range bombardment from the "Splash Brothers".

Except, it was mainly Klay Thompson doing the damage from beyond the arc, equalling two National Basketball Association records by connecting on his first 10 three-point attempts of the game on Monday.

His partner in crime, Stephen Curry, was uncharacteristically off-colour, going just two-of-10 from long range for 11 points as his nine-game streak of at least three three-pointers ended, but the Golden State Warriors could afford to shrug it off with Thompson on fire.

The four-time All-Star scored 23 of his 44 points in the third quarter, finishing with his 13th career game of at least 40 points, and made 10 or more three-pointers for the fifth time in his career as the two-time defending champions romped to a 130-111 win over the Lakers.

According to Elias Sports Bureau research, Ty Lawson set the game-opening mark on April 9, 2011, which Thompson matched, while still playing for the Denver Nuggets.

The guard also joined Chandler Parsons, then of the Houston Rockets, in making 10 three-pointers in a game.

Thompson, however, downplayed his feat as it "just happened to be one of those nights". He told ESPN: "It was the best percentage I ever shot. It's hard to explain."

Recalling the last time they visited the Staples Centre, which ended in a 127-101 blowout win for the home team on Christmas Day, Thompson revealed the West-leading Warriors (33-14) had gained a measure of revenge with their rout.

"It definitely had an effect," he said. "I will say, one thing about this game is we play these guys four times. You do have to have a short memory because it's such a long season but, when it's a beat-down like that, you're going to remember it."

DeMarcus Cousins, who had eight points in his second Warriors game after a year out with a heel injury, lauded his teammate for setting "a new record every day". The four-time All-Star said: "That's Klay. We're all used to it now. It was 10 straight? That's impressive."

It was the Warriors' seventh consecutive road victory and their eighth overall, and coach Steve Kerr felt the Lakers were just another victim once Thompson gets "red hot, white hot".

"Klay does that five or six times a season," he said. "You guys have seen it."

The Lakers were without their three best playmakers, all out injured. James and Rondo missed their 14th straight game while Ball, who sprained his ankle last Saturday, will miss the next four weeks.

The trio have combined to average 19.2 assists this season, and Los Angles are now 5-9 in the absence of James and Rondo, dropping to 25-23 overall.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2019, with the headline 'On-fire Thompson guns down Lakers with a vengeance'. Print Edition | Subscribe