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Friday, December 1, 2023

Klay Thompson breaks out, Warriors snap losing streak vs. Rockets

SAN FRANCISCO — After six straight losses, Steph Curry was concerned about the “stink” of a “losing mentality” seeping into the Golden State Warriors’ locker room.

They got a breath of fresh air Monday evening.

Klay Thompson got his shot going, Curry received a healthy dose of support, and the Warriors snapped their skid with a 121-116 win over the Houston Rockets.

The losing streak was the Warriors’ longest since their disastrous 2019-20 season, finally earning their first win of the home stand in its sixth and final game. With a well-rounded offensive showing, 121 points were the most they scored in regulation since the start of the streak.

Things began to turn, as they usually do, on a shot by Curry.

After going more than 20 minutes in the first half without a field goal attempt, Curry flew off a screen as time ticked down before intermission. He sank a 3-pointer while being knocked to the floor by Jalen Green and completed the 4-point play, putting Golden State up 10, 63-53, entering halftime.

Alperen Şengün, Houston’s second-year center who scored a team-high 28 points, made the first two buckets of the second half, cutting the lead to five, but a transition 3 from Klay Thompson quickly widened the lead back to 10, and the Rockets would only briefly cut it to single digits the rest of the way.

Before Curry’s 3, the largest lead held by either team was seven points.

But unlike most of the early part of this season, when it has been Curry and everybody else, the Warriors’ supporting cast picked up the slack.

Led by game-high 31 from Curry, five Warriors scored in double figures, including Chris Paul, who finished with 15 points and 12 assists for his third straight double-double, and two others contributed at least seven points. But the most encouraging development had to be from Thompson, who poured in a season-high 20 points.

After Andrew Wiggins’ breakout game Saturday, coach Steve Kerr seemed to have a plan to get his other slumping star going against the Rockets.

In his pregame comments, Kerr alluded to the “patience” he had with Wiggins, allowing him to erupt for a season-high 31 points their last time out, and suggested it would pay off with Thompson in similar fashion. And on the Warriors’ first trip up the floor, it was none other than Thompson who popped out from a screen set by Kevon Looney, freeing him up to fire off their first shot of the game.

Nine of the Warriors’ first 13 attempts from the floor came off the tips of Thompson’s fingers.

He snuck free as the shot clock wound down for his first, and it looked like he might be getting going when Curry found him wide open in the corner for a second triple. To the delight of the soldout crowd, Thompson converted a three-point play when he put his shoulder into Dillon Brooks, who was greeted with boos any time his name came over the loudspeakers, as a sworn enemy from his time with the Memphis Grizzlies.

By the end of the first quarter, Thompson already had 12 points. But the Warriors only led by 2.

Key 3-pointers from Dario Saric, who finished with 10, and Wiggins, who followed up his 31-point effort with 12, kept Houston at bay.

Departing from his typical substitution pattern, Curry re-entered the game at the start of the fourth quarter holding a 92-81 advantage. After six straight losses, even a Monday night game against the rebuilding Rockets is a must-win, and Kerr sent his team a signal to put them away.

Up next: After concluding a six-game home stand, the Warriors head to Phoenix, where they will look to avenge a 108-104 home loss in the season opener.

Notable: Curry became the Warriors’ all-time franchise leader in minutes, passing Nate Thurmond, in the fourth quarter.

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