The Golden State Warriors hope to continue doing something they’ve done well this season — celebrate birthdays — when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.
Golden State improved to 3-0 on player birthdays when Kevon Looney turned 27 as the Warriors produced a 141-114 home blowout of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night. Looney chipped in with a game-high 11 rebounds to complement four points and four assists off the bench.
Two days later, it’s Klay Thompson’s turn to don the party hat as he performs in his childhood hometown on his 33rd birthday.
Thompson, who was born in Los Angeles but spent much of his youth in the Portland suburb of Lake Oswego, turned back the clock in Monday’s win, going for 42 points and sinking 12 3-pointers.
He joins teammate Stephen Curry as the only players in NBA history with 12 or more threes in multiple games, each accomplishing the feat twice. Thompson holds the NBA single-game record, 14 treys against the Chicago Bulls on Oct. 29, 2018.
Despite posting career-best stats in January and tipping off February with a 23.3-point scoring average over three games, Thompson insisted he’s not sitting by the phone expecting to get a call to replace the injured Curry in next week’s All-Star Game.
“If our record was better, yes, but being two games above .500, I don’t think I should be in Salt Lake City,” he said. “I will be an All-Star (again) before it’s all said and done. It’s a goal of mine. I’m going to show up when it matters most, I’ll tell you that.”
In their first game since losing Curry for at least two weeks with ligament damage in his left knee, the Warriors missed matching a franchise record by one 3-pointer when they buried 26 against the Thunder. Jordan Poole (five treys) and Donte DiVincenzo (four) added the biggest numbers to Thompson’s total.
All three also came up big when the Warriors beat the Trail Blazers 118-112 at home on Dec. 30. Poole hit five 3-pointers and finished with 41 points, while Thompson added seven threes to account for a majority of his 31 points. DiVincenzo, meanwhile, chipped in with nine points, nine rebounds, four assists and four steals.
In the rematch, Portland will be attempting to shake a two-game losing streak that includes a 127-108 defeat at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks in the opener of a five-game homestand on Monday night. Damian Lillard had 28 points and Anfernee Simons 21 in the loss.
With the Trail Blazers having slipped outside the top 10 in the Western Conference, speculation has heated up regarding the possibility that this could be Lillard’s final game for Portland. The trade deadline is Thursday.
The Oakland, Calif., native has been consistent in insisting his preference would be to stay in Portland. But at the same time, he’d like to be playing come postseason time, which might require some roster moves.
“It’s not my job to say who goes where or what needs to happen,” he said recently. “I do want to win. There’s no secret that I want to win. I think we got to do whatever we have to do to be in a position to win.”
Lillard has averaged 36.9 points over his past 16 games, but Portland has gone just 7-9 in that stretch.
–Field Level Media