Here’s what we learned on the night Klay Thompson set another fire in Chicago:
The thing about early-season games is that samples are small, and while you can spot some trends, you also know what’s temporary. And even before Monday night’s record-setting performance in Chicago, everyone knew Klay Thompson wouldn’t continue to be the worst shooter in the NBA.
No one in the NBA with more than 30 attempts from three-point range had a worse percentage than Thompson, a historically great shooter, who opened the year hitting only 5 for 36 (13.9%) from deep. And no one expected that to hold.
And it didn’t.
Monday night, Thompson made history, making a league-record 14 three-pointers in the Warriors’ 149-124 throttling of the Chicago Bulls. Oh, and he only played three quarters.
Thompson finished with 52 points — a new high in the NBA this season — hitting on 14-of-24 from three-point range, on looks where he was so open that teammate Stephen Curry (the former record holder) said he thought Thompson could’ve made even more.
The performance — the Warriors scored 92 points in the first half — speaks to one of the coolest things about this team. When faced with a record, a challenge, a controversy, the Warriors lean in.
Say something about how Draymond Green laughed at Fergie’s national anthem? You’ll get roasted on Instagram. Get in position to have a historic night? The Warriors will keep passing and passing and passing the ball until you get there.
Monday wasn’t the first time Thompson’s been on this end of history — no one can get hot quite like him. And he certainly won’t be the last Warrior in that position.
LeBron hulks up
After another Lakers loss in a game they probably should’ve won, LeBron James got asked the most important question he could possibly be asked — “What do you look like when your patience runs out?”
“You probably don’t want to be around when my patience runs out,” he replied.
And it’s crystal clear that this Laker team is, at best, going to require patience. Defensively they remain a disaster, unable to defend without fouling. They trotted out another starting lineup — their fourth of the season — and they still haven’t kept anyone under 110 points.
Worse, all of their losses have come to hypothetical playoff teams in the West, teams they’ll need to displace to ensure a spot in the postseason.
It’s not time to panic — and LeBron should still have some patience left. But we know there’s an expiration date for that, and James told everyone on Monday that if and when that day comes, it won’t be pretty.
While you were distracted…
There’s more going on in the NBA than LeBron’s Lakers and the Golden State Warriors. Here’s what else you might’ve missed on Monday:
— The Bucks stayed undefeated, beating the Raptors in a showdown that didn’t have Giannis Antetokounmpo or Kawhi Leonard.
— DeMar DeRozan continued to play great for the Spurs, as he led them to an overtime win over Dallas, spoiling Luka Doncic’s first 30-point game.
— Denver looks like the real deal, beating New Orleans in a tight game.