Splash Brothers make it rain in Warriors’ win vs. Thunder originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Steve Kerr said he didn’t have flashbacks watching Steph Curry and Klay Thompson drain 3-pointers at Paycom Center on Monday night in the Warriors‘ 128-120 win against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but it was hard not to think of the past when watching the Splash Brothers shine against their old rivals.
Gone are the days of Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut battling the likes of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. The Thunder are young, fun and building their next core of stars.
A new rivalry could one day spark against Thunder stars such as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Jalen Williams and Jaylin Williams, a healthy Lou Dort and after Chet Holmgren makes his NBA debut.
For the Warriors, Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga, Patrick Baldwin Jr., James Wiseman, Moses Moody and the rest of the young Dubs might be leading the way. But on Monday night in OKC, it was time for Steph and Klay to make it rain on the Thunder once more.
The two combined to score 66 points. They made 53.7 percent of their 41 shots, 50 percent of their 28 3-pointers and all eight of their free throws went down. Curry led the way with a game-high 38 points, going 12-for-20 from the field, 8-for-14 from deep and 6-for-6 at the free-throw line. Thompson added 28 points as he went 10-for-21 overall, 6-for-14 beyond the arc and 2-for-2 on free throws.
Both sharpshooters set the tone from the start.
Curry scored 13 points in the first quarter and was a plus-18 in plus/minus as the Warriors entered the second up 38-20. He made five of his seven shots and three of his four tries from long distance. Thompson was going shot for shot with him, scoring 10 while going 4-for-5 from the field and 2-for-3 on threes.
“You got to play the full 48,” Steve Kerr said to reporters after the win. “The start that we got off to, though, set the tone for the game. We played a great first quarter and they had to swim upstream the entire final three quarters. Even though they got close, we were able to hold them off.”
In that first quarter, the Warriors made 15 shots and all 15 were assisted. Their first 18 made shots were off assists. The streak ended when Jordan Poole dribbled past and around four different players on the Thunder before finishing off a fancy finger roll.
One game after the Warriors handed out a season-high 40 assists in a win over the Toronto Raptors, they totaled 37 assists Monday against the Thunder. Curry on Friday dished 11 assists. This time, he one-upped himself.
He and Draymond Green each topped all players with 12 assists apiece.
“Oh that first quarter was beautiful,” Thompson said. “I think the ball was humming around.”
The latter half of Curry’s 12 made shots were the most important. After dropping 18 points in the first half, he scored 20 in the second half. But the one with the longest meaning was his seventh made field goal of the night, a strong finish at the rim.
That gave him 7,217 made field goals for his career, passing the all-time great Wilt Chamberlain for the most in Warriors franchise history.
“What a legendary accomplishment,” Thompson said. “I mean, Wilt Chamberlain is one of the greatest athletes to ever walk this earth. The fact that Steph was able to do that a foot shorter than him, that’s special.”
Down the stretch, the Warriors received contributions from a handful of players in the win. Thompson scored the most out of the eight players who saw action in the fourth quarter, with nine points, three made shots, two free throws and one emphatic dunk.
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The Warriors finished January with a 7-6 record. Thompson played 10 of those 13 games and put together his best month yet this season. He averaged 27 points on 45.9 percent shooting, 43.1 percent on 3-pointers and 90.9 percent on free throws.
Returning from his left shoulder injury on Jan. 10, Curry put an exclamation mark on the month as the Warriors won their third straight game and earned their first win streak on the road this season. In nine games this month, he averaged 29.1 points and 5.8 assists, shooting 47.8 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from downtown.
What was a slow start to the month was about as good of a finish as Curry and the Warriors could have hoped for.
“Just really smooth with the ball, running off the ball — off screens — playing good defense, rebounding,” Kerr said of Curry. “He was just quick to the ball and looked fantastic out there.”
The rivalry between the Warriors and Thunder is long gone, for now. Nights of Steph and Klay lighting it up still are very much here to stay.