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Golden State Warriors Guard Klay Thompson Erupts in Opener

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 30:  Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors shoots the ball during their game against the Los Angeles Lakers at ORACLE Arena on October 30, 2013 in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Joe FlynnContributor IOctober 31, 2013

The Golden State Warriors came into Wednesday's season opener with a great deal of hype, and they may have kicked that hype into another stratosphere with their 125-94 throttling of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Leading the attack was third-year sharpshooter Klay Thompson.

Despite playing only three quarters, Thompson racked up a career-high 38 points on 15 made field goals. Had the game been tighter, Thompson might have had a shot at equaling teammate Stephen Curry's 54-point masterpiece against the Knicks last season.

Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said it best, telling the Associated Press (via ESPN), "We probably let our emotions get too high. And give Golden State credit; Klay Thompson just lit us up."

So, how did Thompson get his points? Let's compare Wednesday's performance with the other highest-scoring games of his career:

DateMinFGM-A3PM-AFTM-APts
10/30/20133115-195-73-438
01/29/20124313-246-80-032
03/24/20134210-204-97-731
04/09/20133610-196-104-430
03/02/20133811-187-120-029
01/19/20133811-165-72-229
04/16/20124312-222-53-429

The first thing that stands out is his efficiency. Though Thompson played only 31 minutes, he surpassed his career high thanks to an absurd 79 percent shooting performance.

More important than the raw point totals is just how he achieved it. Thompson took seven threes, accounting for just 36.8 percent of his field-goal attempts. Last year, Thompson shot three-pointers on 43.5 percent of his total field-goal attempts.

Can Thompson keep it up? After the game, he said, "A lot to live up to, but that's all right. I don't think I'll keep my average up, but that's all right, too."

If there was one place Thompson struggled last season, it was in converting shots closer to the rim. He shot just a shade over 51 percent at the rim last season, and no player with Thompson's height (6'7'') and athleticism should be making so few shots from such short range.

Now compare that with Wednesday's shot chart:

If Thompson wants to be seen as more than a three-point specialist, he needs to improve his shooting around the rim. And if he can carry on his latest performance against some of the NBA's tougher defenses, both he and the Warriors could be in for a magical season.

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