Klay Thompson torched the Indiana Pacers for a career-high 60 points on Monday night, but how much further could he have taken his scoring total?
In the Golden State Warriors‘ pummelling of the Pacers, none of Steve Kerr’s starters played more than 29 minutes, and Thompson and Stephen Curry were the only two to hit that benchmark. It was the respectable thing to do by Kerr since Golden State was up 116-83 after three quarters.
The final was 142-106 in favor of the Dubs, and Thompson became the first player in the shot-clock era to score 60 in less than 30 minutes.
Since he played such little minutes, the speculation begins: how many more points could he have scored?
A major reason Thompson was taken out early was because the Pacers couldn’t keep up with the Warriors’ firepower. If they had faced a more potent opponent, like the Houston Rockets, for example, KT would’ve had more time on the floor, and he would’ve come awfully close to Wilt Chamberlain’s record.
When the Big Dipper had his 100-point game back in 1962, he did so by taking 63 shots and 32 free throws in 48 minutes.
Wilt’s average was 2.08 points per minute; Thompson’s was 2.07 on Monday night. If Klay continued at that pace for the rest of the game, he’d finished with 89 points, passing Kobe Bryant and giving him the second-most points in an NBA game.
Of course, that’s just mathematically speaking.
Indiana had loads of trouble trying to contain Thompson, and he was getting shots from all over. Not only did he work off the ball, he routinely leaked out on missed shots and Curry found him a couple of times for some easy buckets. In the halfcourt, Monta Ellis was tasked with checking him and it hardly worked. The movement was too much for the Pacers to defend, and Thompson had his choice of shooting from the perimeter and attacking the basket. He kept it balanced nicely and even threw in a couple of heat check threes just for good measure.
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If Klay had played the remainder of a competitive game, he’d finish with 43 minutes played and his points per minute average would need to be 2.3 to reach 100. That sounds like a tremendous feat, but Thompson was remarkably close.
When he was finally pulled in the third, his shooting totals looked like this:
- 21-of-33 from the field
- 8-of-14 from three
- 10-of-11 at the line
He’d need 67 points in those 29 minutes to be on pace, and he would’ve got there by nailing two more threes and sinking his one missed free throw before his 29 minutes were up. Thompson has made ten or more threes in a game three times and, with the way he was feeling, he probably would’ve connected on a four-point play.
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