LOS ANGELES: Klay Thompson exploded for a career-high 60 points in a phenomenal individual display as Golden State steamrolled the Indiana Pacers 142-106 on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).
Thompson tormented Indiana with a mesmerizing performance which saw him rack up 40 points in the first two quarters alone.
A further 20 points in the third quarter gave Thompson the highest individual game tally of his career and the highest of any player in the NBA this season as the Warriors improved to 18-3.
Thompson sat out the entire fourth quarter so was denied the opportunity to improve his tally, which included eight three-pointers.
Kevin Durant added 20 points for the Dubs with Stephen Curry chipping in with 13, but the night belonged to Thompson, who had the Oakland crowd on its feet as baskets rained down from all angles.
“It was fun, I was in a great rhythm, took all good shots for the most part. Still missed a few wide open threes I wish I’d got, but it was a fun night, to say the least,” Thompson said on court afterwards.
Thompson declined to speculate on what his point tally might have been had Steve Kerr not elected to sit him in the fourth quarter.
“Good question,” a smiling Thompson said. “Who knows?”
Paul George led the scoring for the Pacers with 21 points as Indiana fell to 10-11 for the season.
Westbrook marches on
Thompson’s virtuoso display was the highlight of another busy round of NBA games which saw Russell Westbrook maintain his extraordinary run of form with a sixth straight triple double.
Westbrook moved to within one game of equaling Michael Jordan’s seven consecutive triples in 1989 when he secured his 10th assist midway through the third quarter of Oklahoma City’s 102-99 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
Westbrook eventually finished with 32 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists as the Thunder improved to 14-8.
The 28-year-old is now three away from matching the legendary Wilt Chamberlain’s all-time record of nine consecutive triple-doubles set in 1968.
Westbrook has compiled 11 triple-doubles so far this season — the same number as the rest of the NBA combined.
“What Russell is doing is incredible, remarkable. It’s something the league hasn’t seen like this in a long, long time,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “But I also give Russell, and our guys, a lot of credit. We’re a team… They’re all trying to make each other better.”
Westbrook, who is averaging triple double numbers for the season of 31 points, 10.9 rebounds and 11.3 assists, made 10 of 22 from the floor and 9 of 14 from the foul line.
“He does so many different things,” said Thabo Sefolosha, Westbrook’s former Thunder teammate who was given the thankless task of attempting to guard him.
“He has such a high energy level. You have to try to take his air space, contest his shot. He made a bunch tonight.”
Donovan meanwhile praised Westbrook’s ability to read the game before choosing when to strike.
“I think he was just kind of biding his time, seeing what was going to be open,” Donovan said.
“He’s reading the game in his mind and then he’s going to take advantage of the opportunities that he thinks are there.”
LeBron stops the rot
In Toronto LeBron James scored 34 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers snapped their three-game losing streak with a hard-fought 116-112 win over the Raptors, a repeat of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals showdown.
James led the scoring for the Cavs, who also saw Kevin Love pour on 28 points with 14 rebounds as the Raptors’ six-game winning streak came to an end.
The Cavs had looked to be easing to victory after opening up a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter.
But a determined Raptors fightback saw them move to within four with two seconds left, sending the game down to the wire before Cleveland dug deep for a win which boosted them to 14-5.
“It’s always a tough place to play,” James said. “Their fans are incredible and their team is very good and well-coached. It’s absolutely tough to get a win in here; and, for us to be able to do that twice already, it’s big for our team.”