Warriors’ Klay Thompson Thrives In First Game Off The Bench

Klay Thompson, Warriors, NBA
Feb 15, 2024; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) warms up before the game against the Utah Jazz at Delta Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023-24 NBA regular season has been a tough one for Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson. A former All-Star, All-NBA Team member and multi-time champion has struggled on both ends of the court, raising questions about how he should be used by head coach Steve Kerr.

In recent weeks, Thompson has seen his role begin to morph. While he remained in the starting lineup, Kerr was no longer relying on him to close out games. It was something Thompson admitted was tough to handle as he has been a fixture in their lineup when healthy.

This week, Kerr made yet another change to his lineup. Thompson was going to be moving to the bench for the first time since March 11, 2012, during his rookie season. He was replaced by rookie Brandin Podziemski and both players responded to the move positively.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Klay Thompson & Golden State Warriors Updates

Podziemski had a solid all-around game, scoring 13 points with eight assists and six rebounds. His ability to run the offense provides Kerr with an opportunity to play Stephen Curry off the ball more, making the Warriors more dangerous.

Thompson looked as comfortable as ever coming off the bench and playing with the second unit. He scored a season-high 35 points, knocking down seven 3-pointers en route to a 140-137 victory over the Utah Jazz.

“You can do two things: You can pout or you can go out there and respond,” said Thompson, who became the sixth Golden State player to surpass 15,000 points. “I thought I did the latter very well tonight.”

As shared by ESPN’s Stats and Information, Thompson’s streak of 727 straight games starting came to an end. That was the fourth-longest streak in the NBA behind only DeMar DeRozan, Damian Lillard and Curry.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Klay Thompson & Golden State Warriors Updates

While Thompson wasn’t too happy about being moved to the bench, it seemed to motivate him on the court. Thursday night was his best offensive performance on the season, which has been a difficult one for him.

The move overall seemed to provide a boost to the Warriors as well. They scored 84 points in the first half, including 48 in the second quarter, both of which were season-highs. Thompson was a catalyst in Golden State opening up an 18-point lead heading into the fourth quarter as he scored 18 of his 35 points in that frame.

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