WASHINGTON (AFP) – Klay Thompson scored a season-high 38 points to spark the Golden State Warriors over defending NBA champion Milwaukee 122-109 on Saturday, snapping the Bucks’ six-game win streak.
In his best game since returning in January after missing two and a half years with injuries, the 32-year-old guard hit 15-of-24 from the floor, including eight-of-14 from three-point range, with six rebounds and five assists in 34 minutes.
“It’s not losing confidence. Never losing confidence,” Thompson said. “I’ve been through a lot. Just to be able to be out here and compete, it’s a blessing.”
Jordan Poole added 30 points for the Warriors, who got only eight points and eight assists from Stephen Curry, content to watch “Splash Brothers” partner Thompson unleash a superb display.
“I’m a perfectionist at times,” said Thompson. “(I had to) just be patient. Steve (Kerr, the Warriors’ coach) was telling me just to get great shots.”
Thompson missed the entire 2019-20 season with a torn left knee ligament and the entire 2020-21 campaign with an Achilles tendon injury, but came back in January and had his prior season-high of 33 points last month in a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
“It was a challenge but after being on so many great teams and knowing what it takes to get to that final stage, I knew how hard I had to work,” Thompson said. “I don’t want to peak yet. There’s still a long way to go.”
Golden State matched Memphis for second place in the Western Conference at 46-22 while the Bucks, led by 31 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo, fell to 42-26, second in the Eastern Conference, two and a half games behind Miami.
At Denver, Pascal Siakam scored 33 points and Scottie Barnes added 25 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds to ignite the Toronto Raptors to a 127-115 triumph.
Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 26 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
Jordan Clarkson scored a career-high 45 points off the bench on 15-of-21 shooting, including seven-of-13 from three-point range, to lead the Utah Jazz over visiting Sacramento 134-125 despite 41 for the Kings from De’Aaron Fox.
French centre Rudy Gobert, averaging 15.4 points and 14.7 assists for Utah, did not play due to a left foot sprain. Mike Conley was also out for the Jazz.
Portland’s Josh Hart scored 44 points, hitting 15-of-21 from the floor and six-of-nine from three-point range, to lead the Trail Blazers over visiting Washington 127-118.
DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points and Montenegrin centre Nikola Vucevic added 20 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Chicago Bulls over visiting Cleveland 101-91.