Of course it’s Golden State. Of course it’s the Splash Brothers.
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Warriors guards Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry not only met up in the final round of Saturday’s NBA Three-Point Shootout, but they put on the best shooting displays of the night at the exact right time while – with apologies to Phoenix Suns rookie Devin Booker, who shared the final round stage with the two – basically competing head to head. Curry exploded for 23 points in the final round, a seemingly insurmountable score to overcome until Klay Thompson nailed his final eight shots to finish with a Shootout-high and Shootout-winning 27 points.
Thompson both knocked off the defending champion while taking in his first Shootout victory in his second shot at the trophy. Watch his blistering final round:
Klay entered his penultimate rack with 13 points, needing 11 points to top his teammate with 16 available. With his “Money Ball Rack” scheduled to hit last, Thompson had the luxury of knowing he had a possible ten points waiting for him in the final frame, and he took advantage – nailing all five of his two-pointers from the corner.
As such, Thompson took down teammate Curry and Booker, the youngest-ever Three-Point Shootout participant.
It was a fantastic contest throughout. Thompson even had the handicap of having to wait longest between his first go-round the three-point arc and his final performance, starting off the contest with a 22-point run. Curry answered with 21, while James Harden, Booker, and J.J. Redick all tossed in 20 points.
A rare Shootout tiebreaker was needed, with Booker, Redick and Harden allotted 30 seconds and three racks to work with, and the rookie prevailed with nine points with the veterans falling short at eight apiece.
Three-Point Shootout neophytes C.J. McCollum (14), Khris Middleton (13) and Toronto’s hometown All-Star Kyle Lowry (15) all failed to advance from the first round.
Booker began the final round with an admirable 16 points while letting a national TV audience know that the 19-year (shooting 40 percent from behind the arc in his first NBA season) will be a Three-Point Shootout mainstay for years to come.
In the end, as always seems to be the case, it came down to the Warriors.
Curry was the massive favorite entering the evening and looked to be taking care of business in the in final round, making his first seven shots. He cooled somewhat from then on, missing eight of his next 18, some of them badly. Thompson, who had to sit 31 minutes of real time in between his two rounds, then earned the locker room bragging rights with a standout performance.
One can only hope they’ll keep it up on Sunday, during the NBA’s All-Star Game.
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