SAN DIEGO – With family and friends from Orange County cheering from the stands, Warriors guard Klay Thompson put on a highly unusual show for Klay Thompson.
The man with the itchy trigger finger, who lives for the long-range bucket, unveiled his inner point guard, ringing up eight assists in 32 minutes Wednesday night in a 123-112 preseason win over the Lakers before 13,669 at Valley View Casino Center.
“It’s awesome,” coach Steve Kerr said, grinning.
“You could tell,” forward Kevin Durant said of Thompson, “that he was feeling himself on the playmaking.”
After not having a single assist in the first three games, Thompson was credited with six over the next two. Eight, which led the Warriors, is an outburst.
“He’s evolving in understanding how teams are guarding him,” Stephen Curry said. “When he catches the ball, he obviously demands a lot of attention. And he’s been really patient reading the situation. He made some amazing passes. He had a lot of court vision, just making the simple play.”
Eight assists ties Thompson’s career-high in games that actually count. And Thompson still found time for 19 points, three rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots.
“He was fantastic,” Kerr said. “The drive-and-kick stuff. And he made the simple play. He wasn’t trying too hard to do anything, just putting it on the floor and finding guys – and knocking down shots when he was open. It was a great night.”
Not that Thompson, a generally laconic sort, was too impressed with his work.
“I just made the simple play,” he said. “A lot of times, it’s just a simple bounce pass or a kick out. It’s nothing new.”
Well, actually it is. Warriors players and coaches have been known to ride Thompson on his zero-assist nights. This was quite the opposite.
“He was great tonight,” Durant said. “That’s one thing that he’ll showcase this season. A lot of guys will be running at him. He’s going to have a lot of space, a lot of wide-open shots. He did a good job of driving to the paint and kicking out, because everybody is going to converge on him. He’s Klay Thompson.”