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Klay busts slump, sets shooting record with Curry, Wiggins in win over Rockets
Splash Bros + Wiggins Island sets record for most threes by a trio in a single game. Houston is once again on the wrong side of history with Golden State involved.
If the Splash Bros are healthy, Andrew Wiggins is activated, and we’ve got Draymond Green and Kevon Looney in goonball mode? The Golden State Warriors don’t normally lose; even on the road.
Just ask the mighty Boston Celtics, who five months ago saw a 2-1 NBA Finals lead slip out of their grasp before getting guillotined on their home court in a clinching Game 6 by the Dubs. Part of the Warriors’ dynastic mystique is from going into an opponent’s building and choking the air out of their franchise while their fans melt into a stunned silence.
But that well earned reputation has been mildly sullied this season as Golden State stumbled out of the gate to lose their first eight road games. Their usual road dominance was locked in the attic over summer, collecting cobwebs whilst the champs rode bus after bus into arenas and left with stinging L’s.
I can only imagine the stunned embarrassment they must have felt; leaving game after game being defeated in raucous enemy arenas, their golden grit overwhelmed for a night by likes of the ORLANDO MAGIC.
But when the Splash Bros’ combination of Curry and Thompson is humming, suddenly the team looks lethal again. Like, the kind of hardwood lethality that has brought multiple championship parades to the Bay Area.
If you missed the Warriors’ 127-120 victory over the Houston Rockets and are wondering if the Splash Bros can still wear a team out on any given night after all these years, the answer is a resounding yes. BUT DON’T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT!
They forgot about Klay
Coming off of two devastating leg injuries, it’s been fair to question about Klay Thompson’s future. He’s the third highest paid player on the team, at a position on the depth chart that has an immediate potential heir in the newly well-paid Jordan Poole.
And to add to the questioning, didn’t the Warriors have a pretty decent regular season record without Klay last season too?
I think folks may have forgot that the Killa Klay we grew to know and love pre-career-altering-injury was notorious for having early season shooting slumps. Heck it was right after Christmas 2018, mid-dynasty, when Thompson roasted the hell out of reporters who dared to ask him about his rough shooting spell:
At the time, the disrespect from Klay haters and that hilarious quote inspired me to do some research and create one of my first YouTube videos ever discussing Klay’s history of slump busting.
So when I saw this team’s abysmal road record and saw that Klay had played in six of those road losses, I immediately harnessed the power of the internet to check for a correlation. Sure enough, the numbers didn’t lie: 35.7% FG% and 32.8% 3PT% on 16 shots per game away from Chase. Considering for his career Klay shoots a far more accurate clip of 45% FG% and 41.4 3P%, it’s no wonder the Dubs have been struggling with him scuffling like that on the road.
And as much as we’d probably hate to admit it here at the HQ, news of Golden State’s creaky start has spread across the basketball lands. Here’s the Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor spotlighting Klay’s struggles for a key piece of speculation as to why GSW’s run might be over:
“He’s shooting a career-low number of shots at the rim—and making a career-low percentage of them—because he lacks burst off the dribble. He’s also front-rimming more jumpers than anyone in the NBA, which suggests he’s not generating enough power from his rehabilitated legs.
Klay might get better. But if he doesn’t, Golden State’s priority is to win a championship while Curry is still playing at an MVP level. The reality is that Poole is better than Thompson now, but he plays a vital role off the bench. Thompson is making $40 million and can become a free agent in 2024. Long before then, the team could upgrade their roster if they can package Klay with picks and young players. That’s a possible harsh future ahead if Thompson doesn’t make notable improvements.”
Hmm. Kinda crazy how fast the internet can take Klay, a guy who sacrificed his mind body and soul to successfully lead the franchise into the pantheon of legends, and callously turn him into tradebait chum in the honor of “not wasting Steph’s prime”.
Let me preface my next statement by saying that I am a humble Warriors fan who is no better than anyone else, and I once proudly begged the franchise to keep Monta Ellis. But I personally can’t fathom being a Warriors fan coldly staring at Basketball Reference box score at 2AM with bleary eyes whilst mumbling that the Dubs should “trade Klay”, a legend who has repeatedly rewritten record books with scoring exploits even his own teammate Steph has never touched.
He also just dropped 41 points last night on the road against the HOUSTON ROCKETS (one of the worst teams currently in the NBA but surely we aren’t above punishing our old rivals, eh?).
There was a particular play I enjoyed deep in the fourth quarter where two befuddled Houston defenders miscommunicated an offball screen Andrew Wiggins was setting for Klay. The two guys in white flew off towards the spring Klay at the arc, while Draymond Green hummed in a beautiful pass to a cutting Wiggins for an easy jam.
Lmao the Rockets just gave up an WIDE OPEN DUNK in the final minutes of probably the most important game of their young season, and were so worried about red-hot Klay Thompson catching a pass 25 feet from the basket that they sacrificed the jam to an All-Star known for rattling the rim with huge dunks. That’s the Splash Bro effect.
Splash Bros don’t splash alone
Speaking of Brothers of Splash, why does this man Stephen Curry enjoy torturing Houston so much?
Don’t let Klay’s 40-piece distract you from the fact that Curry, currently averaging a little over 32 points per game, scored 33 last night and dished 15 assists.
A fascinating turning point in the game involving Steph and Klay occurred in the waning seconds of the third quarter. Klay had ripped off 20 points in the first quarter, but it was Steph who had the hot-hand in the third frame with 16 points in the period.
Curry got swarmed at the beginning of the possession by two defenders, and turned with incredulous dismay on the referee who watched him get mauled. Curry chomped down on his mouthpiece and gesticulated at the ref like “WTF” as the clock wound down, clearly agitated by the level of physicality the Rockets were getting away with on him. As the ref stared blankly back at him and the timer reached single digits, Steph casually recovered from his righteous complaint and began dribbling towards the arc, a threat with every step.
If there was ever a time for him to get a quick payback with one of his crowd silencing buzzer beaters, this was it. Jordan Poole flared out toward him at the top of the key for a quick brush screen opportunity. But it was all subterfuge, as on the right wing Moses Moody slyly screened off Klay’s man as the Splash Bro teleported to the three-point arc. Steph fired a pass into Klay’s shooting pocket, and the defense was suddenly just out of position enough for Klay to snipe through a tiny window of space. BANG!
THAT’S THE SPLASH BRO EFFECT. Fun sequence aside, I’m sure folks will mostly remember his performance in this game for the way he slammed the door shut on any prayer of a Houston comeback with an improbable fadeaway triple:
Talk about weaponizing joy lolol.
THE THIRD SPLASH BRO IS FROM WIGGINS ISLAND?!
So Klay had 41, Steph had 33, but who was the third leading scorer on the night the Dubs need every point they could get to win a shootout? Why, that’d be the Irrepressible Mr. Wiggins! Big Wiggs scored 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field, nailing 6-of-11 (!) from beyond the arc. Wiggins was the talk of trade scenarios galore last season, but he’s just out here averaging 18 PPG on 49% FG% and 40% 3PT%.
When those three snipers are orbiting and cutting around Draymond (8 assists and +18 plus/minus in 32 minutes), they are a scoring machine to be feared.
So for those keeping track, the Dubs are 1-8 on the road so far, and have plummeted all the way to 3.5 games out of first place in the West. There’s only *checks notes* 65 games left in the regular season, so there IS a window of opportunity for the Warriors to make the playoffs and maybe even get home-court advantage in a series or two.
But feel free to panic if need be, we welcome all types here at the HQ.
In the meantime, the Splash Bros will work on getting the champs their next win to draw them back to .500.