By JANIE McCAULEY – AP sportswriter
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Golden State coach Steve Kerr made a point of telling Klay Thompson that he had played his best game since returning in January after a 2-1/2-year absence following surgery and lengthy rehabilitation on his left knee and played on the right Achilles tendon.
Jordan Poole always does his part to provide a spark when the Warriors are missing stars like Thompson or, more recently, Stephen Curry.
Thompson scored 33 points with six 3-pointers and Golden State won its third straight game after losing four straight games and running from the exhausted Los Angeles Lakers late Thursday night for a 128-112 win .
Of Thompson’s 22 recordings, Kerr liked all but two.
“I thought it was Klay’s best game,” Kerr said. “I know he scored more goals but in terms of shot selection he just had his feet on the ground under him, his balance was great, his decision making was really good. So a lot of good things are happening.”
Poole added 19 points and a career-high 11 assists for the Warriors on a celebratory night at the Chase Center, where huge Golden State fan and K-Pop star BamBam defeated the house with a spirited halftime performance in the Warriors’ final regular season Collapse brought home game.
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“Jordan was incredible. He’s had a fantastic season,” Kerr said. “He covered for both Klay and Steph when they were injured. He did everything we asked him to do.”
Poole continues to show his growth by popping questions from veterans like Andre Iguodala and making the extra pass to create shots for teammates.
“It just feels good to put my teammates in really easy situations to get the ball, especially when the guys start early in case the game gets tight at the end, they have a rhythm and they feel a bit comfortable,” said Poole.
Talen Horton-Tucker posted a career-high 40 points in 15-for-28 shooting and led a Lakers team missing LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook. Malik Monk contributed 24 points as Los Angeles lost their eighth straight game.
Andrew Wiggins added 17 points in the Warriors’ final vote in the Bay Area before starting the playoffs with home field advantage next weekend.
“We will try to win all three games. We’re just getting into that thinking, let’s build momentum. If we could capitalize on those last two wins and go into the next week on a winning streak, I think that would do us great,” said Kerr. “But whatever happens with the seeding, happens and we’re just going to play who we’re going to play against.”
Los Angeles hit eight of its first 12 shots and had 11 trips to the free-throw line by the 5:07 mark of the first quarter — the Warriors totaled 38 free throws on 10.
The previous three meetings between the rivals had been decided by seven points or fewer.
Tim Hardaway was honored for his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame prior to the start of the second quarter – announced by fellow Run TMC Hall of Famers Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond.
Kerr hardly thinks James is done despite being 37 years old.
“LeBron is absolutely still one of the greatest players in the league,” Kerr said. “He showed that this year. … He’s an absolute superstar and although he’s past his prime for age and mileage, he’s one of the best players in the world.”
Lakers: James has a sprained left ankle, Davis has a sprained right foot and Westbrook has a sore right shoulder while Anthony is recovering from a stomach problem. Lakers coach Frank Vogel continued to hope some of them could play the Thunder at home on Friday. … The Lakers shot 4 for 18 from 3-point range and 9 of 32 overall in the first half. … Dwight Howard received a technical with 1:47 in the first half. … Los Angeles has lost 16 straight on the road to Western Conference teams. … The Lakers waived forward Trevor Ariza, whose ankle surgery limited him to 24 games. “Derailed most of his season and impact on our team this year, yes,” Vogel said.
Warrior: Kerr said Thompson, Otto Porter Jr. and Iguodala will each bring one of the weekend’s back-to-back games to rest. Iguodala had seven assists when the Warriors finished with 39. … Golden State went 31-10 at home. … The Warriors sold out their 418th straight game with a capacity of 18,064. The sellout streak goes back to December 18, 2012.
Lakers: Hosts the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.
Warriors: At the Spurs on Saturday. Golden State has won its last two games in San Antonio.
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