Klay Thompson scores 32 points as Stephen Curry rests, Warriors beat stumbling Jazz 118-110 | Sports

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Klay Thompson found his offensive groove in a hurry, even on the toughest of shots with a defender in his face.

Thompson scored 32 points and the Golden State Warriors ran away from the undermanned Utah Jazz early on the way to a 118-110 victory Sunday night.

“He was amazing,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Klay’s shot-making really helped us get that lead.”

The Warriors clinched at least a spot in the four-team play-in tournament before the game when Houston lost 147-136 in overtime to Dallas.

The Warriors know they just have to “keep trying to win,” Kerr said, and he believes this team still has a great opportunity to make a special playoff run despite what could be a daunting road.

“It’s going to be interesting, four games left and lots of possibilities,” he said.

From the opening tip, Thompson came out looking for his shot to handle the bulk of the scoring load on a night Stephen Curry was held out for rest and Chris Paul started in his place as the Warriors won for the seventh time in eight games.

Kerr utilized his 26th starting lineup combination of the season. The break gave Curry several days between games. He has played in 71 already, his most since 2016-17.

“He needed it, this is the most games he’s played in a long time,” Kerr said about the 36-year-old two-time MVP. “It’ll serve him well for next week.”

Reserve Johnny Juzang scored a career-high 27 points with seven 3s to lead the Jazz in their 12th straight defeat and 15th loss in 16. They haven’t won at Golden State since Feb. 9, 2022. Keyonte George added 25 points.

Thompson shot 12 for 23 with six 3-pointers and had 25 points by halftime for his best scoring half of the season and first with 25 or more points in the initial two quarters since going for 33 against the Suns on March 13, 2023.

Thompson hit seven of his first 10 attempts with four 3s, and Golden State connected on 8 of 12 3s in the first quarter to take a 41-28 lead — the Warriors’ third time scoring 40 or more points in the opening period.

Jonathan Kuminga returned from missing six games with tendonitis in both knees and came off the bench to contribute 21 points and 10 rebounds in his sixth straight 20-point game when playing as a reserve. That matched Sarunas Marciulionis for most such games in Warriors franchise history since 1977-78 when starters began being recorded.

“I was more concerned with going in there and impacting a win because a win is a win at the end of the day and playing my game,” Kuminga said.

Brandin Podziemski had his 17th game with at least 10 points, five rebounds, five assists — second among rookies — finishing with 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

“We’ve just been finding ways to win right now,” Podziemski said. “I think we’re playing really well, offensively especially we’re sharing the ball. We’re just playing together, having fun.”

The Warriors also were missing forward Andrew Wiggins for a second straight game because of left ankle soreness.

Golden State has won all three meetings with the Jazz this season — four in a row overall — and the teams meet one last time next Sunday at Chase Center to conclude the regular season. The Warriors improved to 18-2 when they have 30 or more assists (32 Sunday) and shoot at least 50% (53.3).

Draymond Green went to the locker room in the fourth quarter to have his back checked but was fine, Kerr said.


Jazz: Host Denver on Tuesday night.

Warriors: At Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night having won the last two matchups.

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA

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