Thompson scores 41, Warriors top Pelicans to take third seed

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Klay Thompson punctuated his regular season with a fist pump — a display of emotion far beyond his latest flurry of fourth-quarter scores.

Thompson scored seven 3-pointers and scored a season-high 41 points for the Golden State Warriors, seeded third in the Western Conference playoffs, in a 128-107 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday night.

“The struggle I fought, I’ll never take 40 balls lightly again,” said Thompson, who, after being sidelined for more than two seasons with knee and Achilles injuries, has now reached the playoffs, having won three Has scored more than 30 runs. game

“It’s hard to do in the NBA,” Thompson continued. “I don’t care who’s protecting you, who’s playing, 40 points is 40 points and that was a lovely night for me.”

Jordan Poole added 22 for the Warriors, who took a 22-point lead in the second quarter and held on to close the regular season on a five-game winning streak.

The Pelicans were already locked in ninth place in the Western Conference and had limited playing time to a normal start ahead of their single-elimination play-in game on Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs. Brandon Ingram (right hamstring), Herbert Jones (right thigh injury) and Jonas Valenciunas (right ankle pain) as well as top-scoring reserve Devonte Graham sat out.

Starting guard CJ McCallum played just five minutes in the first quarter and rested for the rest of the night. Nazi marshals led New Orleans with 19 points, while reserve Gary Clark added 17 points and rookie Trey Murphy III scored 15 points.

Pelicans coach Willie Green cut short the Pelicans’ two losses to end the season, noting that his team still has a chance to be a part of the NBA playoffs after starting 3-16 and 2019 Zion Williamson’s top overall draft pick hasn’t been injured all season.

“We are proud of our group and where we are now,” Green said. “People understand that they have worked very hard. They stayed together and we have a great opportunity.”

The Pelicans’ massive reserve lineup still reduced their 29-point deficit to 11 in the third quarter, before Thompson finished the game with 15 points in the span of five minutes at the start of the fourth period.

Thompson opened the boom with an 11-foot turnaround, a reverse layup and then a driving floater as he was fouled, followed by a 15-foot pull-up and consecutive 3s to make it 108-86.

“He’s back from this long absence of two and a half years, so it’s important for him to look the way the past few weeks, but this game break that opens tonight in the last game of the regular season.” Warriors coach Steve Kerr he said. “Tonight was like a metaphor for Kel going back to Kel.”

Tip-ins

Warriors: Thompson shoots 50% from 3-point range against New Orleans. They have 14 games with at least 20 points and six with at least 30 since returning to the lineup on 9 January. …Golden State shot 60.5% (49 out of 81) overall and 57.6% (19 out of 33) from 3-point range. , … Jonathan Kuminga scored 18 points and Damien Lee added 11 points.

Pelicans: Ingram missed his third straight game due to a hamstring injury, which Greene described as a small escalation that should not keep him out of the play-in game. “He’s feeling so much better,” Green said. “We plan to have him ready to play on Wednesday. But other than that, he’s working through it. He’s getting better. But there was no point in putting him on the floor tonight. ” … Unprepared rookie Jose Alvarado scored 12 points in the reserve role.

curry status

It’s still unclear whether Warriors lead scorer Stephen Curry will return for Golden State’s playoff opener. He missed the last 12 matches of the regular season due to a sprain on his left leg.

“We’ll see how everything goes with Steph next week. There’s a chance he’ll be ready for Game 1. There’s a chance he might not,” Kerr said. “As the week progresses, We’ll see where Steph is. But I think it’s going to go straight to the wire as far as Game 1 is concerned, whether we know his availability or not.”

free throw leader

Poole closed the season as the NBA leader in free-throw percentage at 92.5%, ahead of Curry at 92.3%.

“I want to give my mom a shout out. Ever since I was little, she told me no one was guarding me at the free-throw line, so I shouldn’t miss too many of them,” Poole said. “It’s great.”

iron Man

Warriors center Kevon Looney played in all 82 regular-season games, a feat which Kerr praised earlier in his career in the context of Looney’s hip and neuropathy problems.

“It’s always an incredible honor for a player to play 82 matches and to be able to rely on someone 82 times as a coach is amazing,” Kerr said. “I’m thrilled for him.”

next

Warriors: Start the first round of the playoffs at home against Denver on Saturday night.

The Pelicans: Host a Western Conference play-in game against San Antonio on Wednesday night.

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