Benched Thompson responds like Ginobili as Warriors win

Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson channelled his inner Manu Ginobili by coming off the bench to score a season-high 35 points as the Golden State Warriors beat the Utah Jazz 140-137.

Thompson was left out of the staring line-up for the first time since his rookie season in 2012 – ending a streak of 727 straight starts – but responded in the perfect way as the Warriors recorded their eighth win in 10 games.

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“You can do two things: You can pout or you can go out there and respond. I thought I did the latter very well tonight,” said Thompson, who has averaged just 17 points this season.

“I thought about [former San Antonio Spurs great] Manu Ginobili, that guy has four rings and a gold medal [in the Olympics], and he came off the bench his whole career, and I don’t think anyone looks down on his Hall of Fame candidacy. 

“He’s one of the greats. And I thought I embraced it before tip, and I mean, I deserved it really.”

Warriors coach Steve Kerr admitted Thompson was not thrilled at being benched when he was informed of the move on Thursday morning but praised the 34-year-old for his response.

“It’s been a tricky season for him and for us,” said Kerr, who hinted Thompson may start more games on the bench moving forward.

“It’s not as easy to do what Klay did five or six years ago for him. I think this could be a good balance to get the best out of Klay and to get the best out of our team.

“He’s just such a competitor. I’ve watched him win championships. I’ve seen him hit a million big shots. I’ve seen him guard the toughest guys in the league. 

“Klay’s a champion. He’s an incredible player, great person.”

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