Klay’s day: Three takeaways from Friday’s 116-101 loss to the Warriors

Feb 24, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) reacts after a teammate’s three point basket and foul during the second quarter against the Houston Rockets at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Klay’s day: Three takeaways from Friday’s 116-101 loss to the Warriors

The Rockets losing streak is now at eight games after they returned from the All-Star Break with a 116-101 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Friday night. K.J. Martin led the Rockets with 22 points, but the Rockets could not overcome 26 3-pointers from the Warriors, 12 from Klay Thompson, who led everyone with 42 points. The Rockets played without Kevin Porter Jr., who missed his 18th straight game with a left toe injury, and Jalen Green, who was out with a groin strain.

Vintage Klay

Stephen Curry and Draymond Green didn’t play for Golden State, but Klay Thompson did, and boy was he good. Playing the second game of a back-to-back for just the second time this season, Thompson lit the Rockets up for 42 points, knocking down 12-of-17 3-pointers. Some of it was brilliant shooting, but the Rockets also did their part, losing track of Thompson when he was moving without the ball and even going under screens against one of the most lethal shooters in NBA history.

Thompson scored 41 points against the Rockets in November, and for the season he converted 22-of-30 3-point attempts against his old Western Conference rival. The Rockets have one more meeting against the Warriors this season, March 20, at Toyota Center, and they might want to make sure they stick with Thompson.

The threes fly

The Rockets averaged a league-low 28 3-pointers in the last 17 games they played before the All-Star Break, and just 12 in the first half, so shooting more 3’s was something they wanted to get back to. Mission accomplished on Friday night. They attempted 12 in the first quarter and 35 for the game, connecting on 11.

One reason they saw a 20% decline in 3-point tries before the break was the absence of Kevin Porter Jr., but another reason was that they were just passing up good looks. The Rockets shot the ball with more confidence on Friday. The Warriors dared Jae’Sean Tate to shoot a 3 on the game’s second possession; he shot the ball with confidence and made it. TyTy Washington, shooting 18% from deep entering the game, fired one up after the Warriors went under a screen; he missed the shot but continued to shoot and made 3 of his next 4.

The Rockets made 11 3-pointers on Friday for just the second time in 12 games. They just couldn’t keep up with the Warriors’ 26 3-point makes, just one shy of their franchise record.

TyTy Washington gets the start

Playing without Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green due to injuries, the Rockets inserted TyTy Washington into the starting lineup for the first time. The rookie out of Kentucky has seen his playing time increase considerably after spending a good portion of the season in the G League, and on Friday he finished with 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting and four assists in 32 minutes with just one turnover.

Washington became the 12th Rockets rookie to start a game in less than three seasons under Stephen Silas after starting just 11 rookies in the 10 seasons prior.

Next up

The Rockets will visit Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night.

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