SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Only last week ahead of the All-Star break did Klay Thompson even receive medical clearance to play on back-to-back nights, 13 months after his return from a more than 2 1/2-year absence recovering from knee and Achilles surgeries.
He is flourishing again as he defiantly promised he would.
Thompson scored 42 points and matched his season high with 12 3-pointers, leading the undermanned Golden State Warriors past the Houston Rockets 116-101 on Friday night.
“I don’t like to talk about vintage me or am I my old self?” Thompson said. “I just think I’m being myself and I was capable of these things in the past and as long as my wrists still work, my feet work, I’ll forever be able to shoot the rock.”
It was Thompson’s third career game with 12 or more 3s — NBA career 3-point leader Stephen Curry has done so twice, and Thompson let him know it.
“It was one of those nights I had the hot hand,” he said. “It felt great, I can’t lie to you all.”
Donte DiVincenzo added 15 points as the Warriors hung tough in the second game of a road-home back-to-back following a 124-111 loss at the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night. Jordan Poole’s 38-footer beat the halftime buzzer to put Golden State ahead 66-49 at the break, and he scored 15.
KJ Martin had 22 points and eight rebounds, TyTy Washington Jr. scored 15 and Jae’Sean Tate 14 for the NBA-worst Rockets (13-46), who lost their eighth straight and fifth in a row on the road.
Thompson shot 12 for 19 — all of his made shots coming from long range — and helped Golden State get rolling beginning the second on a 18-5 burst to build a 44-31 lead. Two off his career best for 3-pointers and four points shy of his season high, Thompson sat down for good to a roaring ovation with 1:41 remaining.
“He was brilliant tonight and it’s just so great to see him now at the point where he can do this,” said coach Steve Kerr, who challenged Thompson to be a better rebounder. “I’m really happy for Klay, he’s put in the work. I really loved the fact he got seven rebounds.”
The Warriors had lost two straight and four of five, but won their sixth of seven at home.
Kevon Looney grabbed 13 rebounds for his fifth straight game with at least that many. He had been the first to do so in four consecutive games since Andrew Bogut in 2014.
Draymond Green had been listed as probable with a bruised right knee but didn’t play, leaving the defending champions down three starters with Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins also missing. Green is likely to return Sunday.
Curry, the reigning NBA Finals MVP, has sat out the past seven games with a left leg injury after getting hurt against Dallas on Feb. 4 in a collision while defending McKinley Wright IV as he drove to the basket. Wright’s knee hit Curry’s shin. An MRI exam showed partial tears to his superior tibiofibular ligament and interosseous membrane in his left leg. He also had a bruise.
Rookie Patrick Baldwin Jr. added 11 points with three 3s. The Warriors’ nine straight victories in the series marks their longest winning streak ever against Houston.
Longtime Warriors and 49ers team pastor Earl Smith is healing from being hit by an Uber driver while attending the All-Star Game in Utah. His left hand is in a soft cast and he’s wearing a walking boot on his right foot.
“I’m doing better,” Smith said by text to the AP. “I would appreciate all the positive prayers. Thank you.”
Rockets: Houston limited its first-half turnovers to four and committed just seven for the game to Golden State’s 19 that led to 24 Rockets points. … Houston hasn’t beaten the Warriors since a 135-105 win on Feb. 20, 2020, and has dropped five in a row on the Warriors’ home floor. … The Rockets are 7-32 vs. the Western Conference, including 2-20 away from Houston.
Warriors: Golden State missed scoring at least 122 points in a seventh straight home game. … Wiggins missed his third straight game while dealing with a family matter. Kerr isn’t sure when Wiggins will return. … The Warriors had scored at least 120 points in each of the previous three meetings with the Rockets. … Golden State played its 13th set of back-to-backs.
Rockets: At Portland on Sunday night having lost the two previous matchups this season.
Warriors: Host the Timberwolves on Sunday night.
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