Klay Thompson scored 16 of his season-high 33 points in the fourth quarter, Stephen Curry made a clutch layup with 46 seconds remaining, and the Golden State Warriors held off the Los Angeles Lakers 117-115 on Saturday night, spoiling another scoring milestone by LeBron James.
Curry finished with 24 points and eight assists, while Andrew Wiggins scored 19 points to help the Warriors end a two-game losing streak. Golden State has not lost three in a row all season.
Thompson’s big night came in front of his father, former NBA player Mychal Thompson, who works on the Lakers radio broadcast.
”It meant something special to do it for my dad,” Thompson said. ”I don’t think he’s seen me play for a few years. I know he was proud of me, and that’s always fun.”
James had 26 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists, but missed the first free throw after Curry fouled him attempting a 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds left. He made the second and missed the third intentionally but couldn’t chase down the rebound in time to get a shot off.
”This one hurts,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. ”We were up six with a few minutes to play. Just one of those nights where a lot of bad bounces didn’t go our way.”
Earlier in the night, James extended his streak of 25 points or more to 22 games and passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most points scored in the NBA combining the regular season and postseason with 44,157. James tied Abdul-Jabbar’s mark of 44,149 in the first half, then surpassed it with a 3-pointer early in the third quarter.
Abdul-Jabbar still owns the career record for regular-season games with 38,387 points, considered the more prestigious of the two scoring milestones. James, with 36,526, is closing in on that one, too.
”We had an opportunity to win a big game tonight,” James said. ”But in all my career, any time I’ve been linked with some of the greats, I’ve always just been in awe.”
Thompson, who returned this season after missing 941 days with a pair of serious leg injuries, shot 12 of 22 and made four 3s, three in the fourth quarter.
”Just took over the game at a time when we desperately needed him,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. ”With our offense kind of struggling to find a groove he got hot and took over the game. Klay is special. It goes beyond making shots. He brings an electricity to the building that’s hard to quantify.”
It was Thompson’s most points since putting up 43 against the Knicks on Jan. 8, 2019.
The Warriors needed it on a night when Curry struggled from the perimeter. The NBA’s 3-point king was 1 of 8 beyond the arc but made up for it by going 9 for 9 on free throws.
Jonathan Kuminga added 18 points and nine rebounds for the Warriors.
Russell Westbrook returned after missing a game and broke out of his scoring slump with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Lakers.
The Warriors led by 15 on Thompson’s corner 3 and Otto Porter Jr.’s layup before the Lakers closed the gap and got within 65-62 at the half following Avery Bradley’s 3-pointer.
Curry and Kuminga combined for 33 points in the first half on 12-of-19 shooting.
Austin Reaves chased Thompson down from behind and blocked a potential layup during the Lakers’ run to open the fourth quarter. It’s the ninth block of the season for the 6-foot-5 rookie guard.
”He just has a look on his face, a bounce in his step and you can feel it coming.” – Kerr on watching Thompson during his fourth-quarter spree
Lakers: Vogel was given a technical foul in the fourth quarter. Assistant coach Phil Handy received one during a timeout following a thunderous one-hand dunk by James in the first quarter.
Warriors: Curry needs four steals to tie Chris Mullin for the franchise record for steals. Curry has 1,356. … Andre Iguodala (lower back tightness) missed his third consecutive game.
Lakers: Face the Jazz in Los Angeles on Wednesday. The Lakers lost the season series last year but beat Utah 101-95 in January.
Warriors: Go on the road to play the Clippers on Monday. Golden State has won three of the last four against the Clippers including twice this season.
Credit: CBS Sports