Klay Thompson says 42 point stake in win is incredibly satisfying

Klay Thompson says 42-point stake in win is ‘incredibly satisfying’

Kendra AndrewsESPN3:04 AM ET3 Minute Read

SAN FRANCISCO — Klay Thompson doesn’t like to think there are two versions of himself or his game — pre-injury versus post-injury — nor does he follow the mindset that he’s “returning” to who he was. He has found that it does him a disservice and causes him to force his game.

Instead, he says that focusing on current tasks has allowed him to find stability.

“I’m myself and I’ve been capable of these things in the past, and as long as my wrist still works, my feet still work, I’m going to be able to shoot the rock forever,” Thompson said after scoring 42 points Friday night in the 116-101 win of the Golden State Warriors over the Houston Rockets. “So for me it’s all about chasing great shots and tonight I did that.”

Thompson’s performance came on the second night of a back-to-back, only his second time playing both nights of a back-to-back since returning from his injuries. That’s the most points he’s scored in a game without Stephen Curry (lower left leg) and Draymond Green (bruised right knee).

“It’s incredibly satisfying,” said Thompson, 32. “I always think about the year I didn’t play. I think of the time I paused and watched. Now it’s easy to put everything in perspective and appreciate that I can move my body and play with great pace and flow and not even hesitate or think about anything.”

All of Thompson’s 12 field goals were 3-pointers, with 17 of his 19 field goal attempts coming from beyond the arc. He also went 6-of-6 from the free throw line. His 42 points and 12 3-points are both the most in a game by a player who didn’t score a 2-point field goal.

Thompson also became the first player in NBA history to hit 12 3-pointers in multiple games in a season. Both came in February.

“I did something no one has ever done before,” Thompson said. “I immediately looked at Steph when I did it because, I mean, this man has all the records, so it’s fun to push the game with him. I’m still so hungry to be great. I will never be satisfied. “

Since the new year, Thompson has shot up a total of 45.9% from the afterlife and 45.2% from the ground. He’s conscious of his shot splits, but unlike in the past when he’s obsessed with his numbers and stats, he says they don’t “make or break” him.

“I always want to be a high-volume but efficient goalscorer, but who doesn’t want that,” Thompson said. Ideally, he would improve his two-point percentage to over 50 percent, but there are other areas of his game that he places more emphasis on in order to become a more well-rounded player.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he was as pleased with Thompson’s seven rebounds against the Rockets as he was with his hot shooting performance because it contradicted Thompson’s desire and ability to do more than just score.

The coaching staff told Thompson that no matter what happens in the future, he will always be considered one of the best shooters the game has ever seen. But now with Curry, Green and Andrew Wiggins (Family Affairs) absent, the responsibility rests with Thompson to be the seasoned leader and step out of his comfort zone.

Kerr and Thompson spoke Friday afternoon about how players need to develop as they get older. They talked about how Michael Jordan added as an example of a player’s development that he became a low post player in his 30s. For Magic Johnson, it improved as a 3-point shooter and a free-throw shooter.

“You can’t expect to be the same player you were five years ago,” said Kerr. “And I think Klay understands that and the challenge is to be better defensively and vocally and a better leader and a better rebounder and all those things because he’s the senior within the team now.”

Thompson said, “I’m not most comfortable with my voice, but you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. That’s how you become great. [Friday]I’ve done a good job leading by example and using my voice.”