Steph Curry and Klay Thompson recall who is still the NBA’s greatest show

Splash Brothers show they’re still the NBA’s biggest show, originally appearing on NBC Sports Bayarea

These aren’t the same Houston Rockets Warriors fans have been accustomed to seeing in the playoffs. There is no longer any rivalry between the two Western Conference opponents. However, the older of these Rockets has seen it all between Houston and Golden State.

Eric Gordon must be fed up with the Warriors by now, especially Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The Warriors’ latest version of torture for the Rockets Veteran Guard came Sunday night in the Warriors’ 127-120 win at the Toyota Center.

With less than a minute to go and the Warriors four points clear, Gordon Curry guarded as best he could. As Gordon has seen so many times, sometimes there are just no answers to stop Steph. As the shot clock ticked down, Curry hopped behind the 3-point line and threw a three that looked like she was about to kiss the ceiling.

Instead, it splashed through the nets. Game over says curry night night. Check out the Rockets’ bench. They all turned into Steph Stans.

“That rainbow was exactly what he does and it’s cool to hear the audience react the way they did,” Thompson told reporters after the win. “Everyone comes to a show when the Warriors are in town and I think he kind of cemented that show with that shot. I even thought, ‘Wow, that’s amazing!’”

Even Curry was surprised at himself. The celebration was just as fun at the moment and made fun of him and his teammates a bit.

“Nah, that was just because I surprised myself with that shot,” Curry said of his signing ceremony. “Even more so with the celebration, the clock was running out – we were running out the clock, me and Draymond raising our hands above our heads as if we had actually won something. Just kind of joking about our slow start on the road but it was a nice win.

“…I like to have fun too.”

Even sweeter for Curry and the rest of the warriors was the fact that the night wasn’t his. He was spectacular once again, no doubt. For only the third time this season, Curry wasn’t the Warriors’ top scorer. For the first time, the honor belonged to Thompson.

This was a classic Klay Day. The Splash Brother felt it after guiding the Warriors to their first away win of the season after opening 0-8.

Too often this season, the happy sharpshooter who’s happiest on a basketball court or at sea has traded his smile for frustration. He came into the night averaging just 15.5 points while shooting just 36.3 percent from field and 33.6 percent on 3 points. He’s come to terms with the fact that he’s not the same player who competed in four straight All-Star games before missing two and a half seasons with a cruciate ligament tear and Achilles tendon rupture. But the four-time champion knows he’s capable of much more.

No matter how much Klay wanted to get rid of the noise during his preseason troubles, he had trouble turning the volume down. He’s heard the naysayers. He saw the tweets.

In a moment of vulnerability, Thompson admitted Sunday that he took it all. And he also made it clear that that won’t happen again.

“No, I don’t care anymore,” he said. “I really let the trolls come to me. Like what do I do you know? I just had an epiphany where I was like, ‘Man, just be you and everything will work out.’

“Criticize me all you want, but I still know how great I am and what I’m capable of. I think true Warriors fans know that too.”

On the same floor that Thompson has made quite a few Texas enemies in the past, he sent a stern message to all viewers: I’m still Klay Thompson. Doubt me at your own risk. Watch what happens when you do this.

Well, what happened for the Rockets was watching Thompson score a season-high 41 points and go 14-23 from the field and 10-13 from long range. On Sunday night, he surpassed 30 points for the first time this year and it was his first performance from over 40. In one game alone, Thompson increased his field goal percentage by nearly three points to 39 percent. Also, his 3-point percentage increased by more than four points to 37.7 percent.

Thompson’s 41 points was the most he has scored since his two leg injuries, and his 10 3-pointers are his highest since he scored 44 points against the Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 21, 2019.

The last three-pointer to hit the mark was his fore-dagger on Curry, which nailed the coffin.

It wasn’t long before Thompson was damaging Houston’s defense. How fast? He scored 20 points in the first quarter, the 11th time he has scored 20 or more points in a quarter and finished fifth in the first quarter.

Although this was only the third time Thompson had at least 20 points in a game this season, it was his second straight game to reach that mark. Two nights ago, he dropped 20 points in the Warriors’ win over the New York Knicks and went 8-16 in his first 50 percent shooter of the year.

Led by Draymond Green, the Warriors held a team meeting on the morning of the win over the Knicks and reaped the rewards. Draymond was as honest as possible with Thompson at this meeting, knowing it would be for the best of his brother and the rest of the team. Now Green sees the player who has been so great for so long.

“He plays Klay Thompson,” Green said. “He’s not worried about what’s happening with Klay, he’s worried about what’s happening with this team. If Klay is worried about what’s going to happen to this team, Klay is playing great and we win.

“I’ve always said he’s the most competitive guy I’ve ever played with. And the most important thing for him was always winning. Sometimes we all move away from who we are. In a brotherhood, it takes someone to make you who you are again. I have no doubt he would do the same if it were me.”

With goals in the last two games, Thompson’s counterpart has made it his mission to get him going early. Curry assisted on the Warriors’ first five shots in the last win. This time, he finished the first quarter – the same in which Thompson scored a 20th – with seven assists. That’s one assist less than his career high for a quarter.

Behind Thompson’s 20 points, the Warriors scored 40 points in the first quarter. None were next to Curry’s name. He then scored eight points in the second quarter, and with the Warriors trailing at halftime, he gave Golden State 16 points in the third quarter. Steph and Klay each scored nine points in the fourth, giving Curry 33 points and 15 assists on the night.

Finding the perfect blend of presenter and game-changing goalscorer, Curry had at least 20 points and 10 assists in his second straight game, 30 points and 15 assists in sixth career game, and 30 or more points in game 11 this season. He dashed any last hopes Houston had and enjoyed talking about Thompson’s night more than anything else, with the two scoring 74 points together — the 17th time they’ve scored 70 or more points together.

“It’s all connected,” Curry said. “How he started carrying the whole game because he boosted his confidence. The ball moved all over the place and found the right man.”

Much of the Warriors’ season so far has consisted of Curry’s teammates marveling at his championship in every game. Klay was happy to lend a hand this time.

“Steph has been with us all season, so it felt good to give him a little help,” Thompson said. “It just felt good to have a big game. I’m my toughest critic. The first 10 games of the season weren’t easy for me.

“Coming out and being myself again felt amazing. It’s just something I can build on and move on from.”

RELATED: Steph, Klay, Wiggs collectively set NBA 3-point mark for trio

With the critics muted and the trolls gone again, Thompson gave himself and everyone else in Houston a reminder. However, watching Steph and Klay at work has always been more special than any single spectacle. It is something that cannot be duplicated.

With a decade of magic together, the Splash Brothers are still the biggest show in the NBA.

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