Warriors are 23-0; Thompson injured
That was a major source of the Warriors’ frustration after a bittersweet 131-123 win against the Indiana Pacers, one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Thompson scored a season-high 39 points and hit 10 3-pointers before ending his night on a sour note.
The 23-0 Warriors led by as many as 32 points and by 28 headed into a fourth quarter when Thompson and the starters were expected to rest. But they were forced to check back in with the lead whittled down to 16, and Thompson hopped off the court and walked to the locker room with a limp on his own power upon getting injured trying to put up a defensive challenge the backups had not.
“Guys go down, that’s on you,” Warriors reserve point guard Shaun Livingston said. “To me, that’s on the second unit. That was my fault. I take it personal. I feel like the starters did their job. They should have rested that fourth quarter, and it’s on us to hold the fort, and we didn’t do that as well tonight.”
Livingston told Thompson after the game he needed to be better in the fourth.
“We’ve still got to play better than that,” Thompson said. “It’s one thing if you don’t make shots, but it’s one thing to let up on the defensive end. We’ll get better from it.
“It happens. The other night, our second unit bailed us out in Brooklyn (extending a fourth-quarter lead). Tonight, it was the opposite. … I told him not to worry about it because they were great for us in Brooklyn the other night, and it’s a team game.”
Thompson said his ankle wasn’t badly sprained and that he “should be back in no time,” and the Warriors don’t play again until Friday at Boston. But the injury comes at a time when Harrison Barnes is out with a sprained ankle and Leandro Barbosa missed the Pacers game because of an illness.”It’s bitter because Klay sprains his ankle in a game we felt we had control of, and if we get out to a better start in the fourth, then we don’t even have to get him back on the court,” Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton said.
Still, the Warriors won their 27th straight regular-season game dating to last season. That matches the 2012-13 Miami Heat’s 27-game streak for the second longest in NBA history for streaks over one or multiple seasons.
Walton said what happened in the fourth shouldn’t take away from how well the Warriors played in the first three quarters.
Stephen Curry added 29 points on a night when it was Thompson who had the hot hand. Thompson was 10 for 16 from 3-point range, coming one away from his career high set on the night he exploded for 37 points in one quarter.
In less than five minutes, the Warriors put together a dizzying 22-0 run in the first quarter. Thompson scored eight of those points before passing the torch to Curry. The reigning MVP threw up a lob to Andrew Bogut for a dunk, hit two 3-pointers, and went around a defender for an up-and-under layup as the Warriors took a 37-21 lead.
The run provided half of the Warriors’ 44 points in the first quarter that matched the most points they scored in any quarter this season. The problem was, they gave up 40 to the Pacers in the fourth.
Paul George poured in 33 points for the Pacers, who cut the Warriors’ lead to six with 24.8 seconds left.
“You don’t want to ever have to win the game twice or three times,” Curry said. “It’s a long season. You want to make things as easy as possible.”
Said Andre Iguodala: “If we want to be great, we’ve got to play at a high level 48 minutes, players one through 15.”
- The proposed Warriors Arena in San Francisco’s Mission Bay cleared another hurdle, NBC Bay Area reported. The city’s board of supervisors denied an appeal of the Environmental Impact Report for the arena, leaving opponents 30 days to take legal action.