Thompson nailed a 12-foot turnaround jumper over George Hill with 0.6 seconds left to lift the Warriors to a 98-96 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
“I knew George Hill was top side of me the whole time,” said Thompson. “The possession earlier when I posted him up, I settled. I knew I could use my body weight and fade from him. I was planning that shot the whole time honestly.”
Thompson finished with a team-high 25 points, including 16 in a clutch fourth quarter. Stephen Curry had 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists. David Lee added 11 points for Golden State (37-24), who has a chance for another winning road trip if they beat the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
The Warriors snapped a six-game losing streak at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, winning for the first time since 2007.
David West led Indiana (46-14) with 27 points. Paul George finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds, but missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Roy Hibbert and Lance Stephenson scored 12 points each. It was just the Pacers’ fourth home loss in 33 games this season.
Thompson’s shot rescued the Warriors from blowing a 13-point lead with 6:23 left in the fourth quarter. George’s two free throws with 2:13 to go capped off a 15-2 run that tied the game at 94.
Lee ended the run of 12 straight Indiana points when he scored off a broken play. On the play, Andre Iguodala dislocated his right index finger when his shot got blocked in traffic by Stephenson. Lee somehow ended up with the ball and laid it in. The Pacers tied it at 96 on George's two free throws with 1:06 left.
Both teams blew their next offensive possession. Curry committed a turnover when he stepped out of bounds on an inbounds play. With 46.1 seconds left, Indiana had a golden opportunity for a 2-for-1 exchange that would give them the last shot of the game. But the Pacers used the entire shot clock and did not get the ball down below the arc. George forced up a long 3-pointer from the right wing and missed. Thompson made a key play when he tipped the long rebound to Curry.
After a timeout, Curry inbounded the ball to Iguodala with 10.9 seconds left, who returned to the game after having his finger popped back into place. Iguodala dribbled right and passed to Draymond Green in the wing. Green, who turned 24 today, passed the ball down low to Thompson in the right block. Thompson took three dribbles, turned around and swished the game-winner over Hill.
“That was the look we wanted,” said Warriors coach Mark Jackson. “Get Paul George out of the picture. I thought we did a great job of reading. The guys got it in Klay’s hands with plenty of time and we wanted to take the last shot. Klay did a great job of getting to his spot. He had it going for a while. It was a big time shot by him.”
Thompson shot 10 of 20 from the field, including 6 of 10 in the fourth quarter.
“Just letting the shots come to me,” said Thompson. “When I do that, I’m at my best.”
“I wanted to make sure he was fine physically because it was a demanding game,” said Jackson. “He had to either defend George or Stephenson. But he’s a guy that’s durable. We take it for granted. He’s a guy that’s never missed a game. He was big time.”
The performance of the bench was another key to victory for the Warriors. Golden State outscored their Indiana counterparts 34-11. Green and Harrison Barnes scored 10 points each. Jermaine O’Neal and Jordan Crawford added seven points apiece.
“I thought our bench was exceptional,” said Jackson. “Scoring the basketball. Taking care of the basketball and competing at a high level. It was just a thing of beauty and a total team effort.”
With the hard-fought victory, Golden State joins Detroit as the only teams this season to win in both Indiana and Miami, the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.
“We know who we are, so it’s no surprise.” said Jackson. “With all due respect to those teams, when we play our best basketball we can beat anybody. The problem is if we don’t, we can be beaten by anybody. But it’s about staying true to the process and not fooling yourself. There’s going to be nights where we look exceptional and there’s going to be nights where we don’t play our best basketball. If you’re with us, be with us.”
Golden State shot 44 percent from the field, including 50 percent from the 3-point line. Coming into the game, Indiana’s defense was ranked first in points (91.2) and opponent field goal percentage (41.5). The Pacers were ranked third in opponent 3-point field goal percentage (33.7).
The Warriors held the Pacers to just 41.9 percent shooting and 18.8 percent from the 3-point line.
After a tough loss to Toronto on Sunday, the Warriors have an opportunity for a great road trip when they take on the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
“Can’t have a letdown game tomorrow in Boston," said Thompson. "If we come out here and go 4-2 on the road trip, going back to Oracle is all we need. We want to make a push from here towards the last 20 games. So that was a huge win for us, especially against the team with the best record in the NBA."
With their 19th road win of the season, the Warriors have won 19 games on the road in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1970-71 and 1971-72.