OAKLAND, Calif. -- And to think, if you believe Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson, Klay Thompson was close to being a reserve.
The sidekick in the Splash Brothers duo turned out to be the most dominant player on the court Wednesday night. His career-high 38 points highlighted the Golden State's 125-94 embarrassment of the hated Los Angeles Lakers, who played without Steve Nash.
"We, as an organization, have to be greedy," Jackson said before the Warriors' season-opening game. "We can't fall in love with what the experts say, because the same experts have said -- a lot of things about us."
The experts will be saying a lot more after Wednesday's performance. The Warriors whipped the Lakers so thoroughly it was hard to tell if Golden State is that good or the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers are that bad.
Forward David Lee gave the Warriors 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
But they didn't need much more offense thanks to a stifling defensive performance.
Led by the swarming presence of newcomer Andre Iguodala and the rim presence of center Andrew Bogut, the Warriors shut down Los Angeles. The Lakers looked nothing like the gung-ho, high-scoring team that took down the favored Clippers on Tuesday. Instead, they looked frustrated and confused.
Through three quarters, the Lakers managed just 63 points on 32 percent shooting with 14 turnovers. By the time the fourth quarter started, it was a laugher.
Golden State held a commanding 69-52 lead just inside of nine minutes left in the third quarter. But the Warriors put together a 19-6 run to end all hope.
But it wasn't that they went on the run, but how.
Point guard Stephen Curry capped a spurt of seven straight points with a 3-pointer. Minutes later, his drive-and-dish set up a wide-open Iguodala 3-pointer. The Warriors led 81-56 with 5:26 left.
After Lakers guard Jody Meeks missed a driving layup, Iguodala started the fast break the other way. He zipped an around-the-back pass to Lee, who was running down the left side. Lee gave it right back to Iguodala with a touch pass for an easy layup. The frenetic Oracle Arena fans, accustomed to the Lakers breaking their team's heart, gave Iguodala an ovation for the highlight.
Forward Draymond Green pushed Golden State's lead to 88-58, high stepping back to the other end of the court. If that wasn't enough, Thompson went to work some more.
He drove for a finger roll at the 3:09 mark, putting the Warriors up 32. The next two possessions, he sealed with step-back jumpers over the smaller Lakers guards, with the ease of big brother over his puny sibling.
By the time Thompson checked out, Golden State's lead was up to 96-62 and he received a standing ovation.
He was 15 of 19 from the field. Only five of those makes were 3-pointers as Thompson showed off his midrange game and his ability to get to the basket.
Thompson and the Warriors' defense were so good, they didn't need much from Curry. The star guard finished with 10 points and six assists in 24 minutes. He, along with the rest of the starters, sat the entire fourth quarter.
That's vital since the Warriors face what is expected to get a more accurate barometer on Thursday night. Their first back-to-back set of the season concludes with a road showdown against the Clippers, the favorite of many to win the Western Conference who are no doubt chomping at the bit to avenge their shocking season-opening loss.
Toney Douglas finished with 13 points, four assists and four rebounds off the bench.
Charged with the task of replacing Jarrett Jack, who had a career year as the Warriors backup guard last season, Douglas was one of the question marks for Golden State this season. He had a rough preseason and, early in his stint Wednesday, struggled off the ball.
But Jackson eventually let Douglas run point and he seemed to come to life. He was 5 of 8 from the field, knocking down three 3-pointers.
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