While there are many parts to basketball, nothing is more important than scoring. Being able to put up big baskets quickly has always been the name of the game, and it has only gotten more and more important in recent years with the rise of the three pointer.
One player who perfectly encapsulates that trend is Klay Thompson. In this guide, I will look at some of the best shooting performances from his storied career to reflect on how much points matter in the current NBA, as well as why three shooting has become so important.
A True Deep Threat
Every pro NBA player scores differently. Some like to bully their way to the basket, some utilize quick moves or flashy finishes, and others have a strong midrange game. Klay Thompson is a pure three point shooter through and through. In fact, he’s one of the best ever.
The tall guard can drive, dunk, and pull up with the best of them. Even so, he made a career off of getting hot behind the line. He always puts up good numbers, but his ceiling is much higher than most other wings. That’s a big reason why his top scoring games are so iconic.
A New Record
Thompson has had quite a few impressive performances, but nothing has ever eclipsed what he did on December 5th, 2016. With the Pacers in town, the sharpshooter put on a show for the home crowd by firing from deep again and again and again.
Though Indiana had a strong lineup at the time, they had no answer for the Warriors fast-paced offense. The team spread the floor effectively, set a slew of screens, and got Thompson open in various situations.
The three shooter rewarded his team by hitting eight shots from beyond the arc. He scored an incredible 23 points in the second quarter and then put up 40 going into the half. That alone was impressive, but the sharpshooter wasn’t done.
Rather than bench him, the Warriors let Thompson play in the third quarter. He scored 20 more, getting to a career high 60 points, before sitting out in the fourth.
Streaks Like No Other
Sixty was a big mark for Klay Thompson, but it was far from his only top game. He had another amazing 44 point performance against the Lakers in 2019 that also went down in history. This time, rather than entering the books through his points, he did it with his consistency.
Thompson matched an NBA record for consecutive three pointers made when he hit 10 in a row during a 130 to 111 rout of Los Angeles. He was almost unstoppable on that night, swishing through basket after basket with an unmatched efficiency.
The game was a perfect example of how Thompson gets so much hotter than anyone else to ever play the game. He finished a total of 17 for 20 from the field in just 27 minutes. He was also the only player to hit 10 straight threes in one game.
Thompson’s 10-three game is impressive, but it pales in comparison to the 52 point performance against the Sacramento Kings back in 2015.
During that night, the wing didn’t just break fifty points for the first time in his career, he also set a NBA record by putting up 37 points in a single quarter. The final score was impressive, but it was nothing compared to that mark.
Other Big Shows
The Pacers and Kings games were two times Thompson eclipsed fifty points in a single contest. The third occurred in 2018, when the Warriors blew out the Chicago Bulls 149 to 124.
He put in 10 threes during the first half, and went into the locker room with 36 points. He then continued his assault and ended the night with 52 points in just twenty seven minutes.
What made the game so special wasn’t just the fifty mark, but that Thompson set an NBA record for most three pointers made that night. He put in fourteen when it was all said and done, hitting a mark that no other athlete has ever touched.
He also had a strong 45 point performance against the Mavericks, where he and Curry led a deep shooting onslaught Dallas couldn’t match. While it didn’t have the flash of the other big games, it was another notch on Thompson’s already impressive belt.
Few players get as hot or score as quickly as Klay Thompson. While there are many professional athletes who average more points than the guard, it’s hard to match his biggest moments out on the court. He drains threes in bunches, and he does so extremely fast.
Thompson has some of the highest highs of any superstar to ever play the game. The above moments weren’t just great games, some were even record breaking. He often gets overshadowed by his teammate Stephen Curry, but he’s an elite shooter in his own right.