It was the greatest scoring quarter by a player in NBA history.
Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 in a game, but he never had as many as 37 points in a quarter.
Kobe Bryant scored 81 points in a game, but never had a 12-minute scoring spree quite like Klay Thompson’s against the Kings on Friday night at Oracle Arena.
That’s when Thompson scored 37 points in the third quarter. He made all 13 of his field goals, including nine three-pointers, as part of a career-high 52 points.
Thompson made a variety of jumpers as he piled up points in a quarter at a rate never seen before in league history.
So where does Thompson’s scoring outburst rank among all-time scoring performances? It’s hard to say. Chamberlain did score 100 points in a game. Along with his 81-point game, Bryant once scored 62 points through three quarters.
Then there’s also this: Is this even the best we’ll see from Thompson?
“I never thought I’d be in this position growing up, so I’m kind of proud of myself just because the hard work is paying off,” Thompson said. “And it’s motivating because I’m just touching the surface of what I can become and just trying to get better every day.”
The coaches for both teams have seen their share of great scorers in person, but neither could compare what they saw from Thompson to anyone else.
“I told Klay, I was one of the luckiest NBA players to play with Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, David Robinson and some of greatest players ever,” said Golden State coach Steve Kerr. “As many spectacular things as Michael did, which he did nightly, I never saw him do that, 37 in a quarter. We were looking at the third quarter box score, 13 for 13 and 9 for 9 from three. He made one 10 feet beyond the line that didn’t count, after the foul.”
Kings coach Tyrone Corbin played with Karl Malone, the NBA’s second all-time leading scorer.
He also entered the league when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was still playing in the mid-1980s, which included the likes of Larry Bird and Dominique Wilkins at their best.
“I’ve seen guys get hot,” Corbin said. “I’ve been around this league a long time, but it was amazing. When you see it firsthand like this (Friday) and it’s happening to you, it’s no fun to watch. Give him credit. He made some tough shots.”
Perhaps Thompson’s teammate, Draymond Green, summed up what the sellout crowd at Oracle Arena took in when asked if Thompson’s game reminded him of the NBA 2K video game series.
“No, you don’t get that hot on 2K,” Green said. “Video games are real now. That wasn’t real. You can’t do that in a video game.”
Which is why we may never see anyone shoot quite like Thompson did Friday again.
Detroit point guard Brandon Jennings has had a good month on the court.
He’s averaging 21.3 points and 7.5 assists in January as the Pistons continue to play themselves into playoff contention in the Eastern Conference by winning 12 of their last 15 games entering Saturday.
On Wednesday against Orlando, Jennings had 24 points and a career-high 21 assists.
The Los Angeles Lakers have lost seven in row. Kobe Bryant has a torn rotator cuff. Coach Byron Scott is shuffling the starting lineup again.
And the Lakers have a 12-32 record, fourth worst in the NBA. With each loss, the Lakers are closer to securing their first-round draft pick, which goes to Phoenix if it’s out of the top five.
Steve Nash, Xavier Henry and rookie Julius Randle are already out for the season, with Bryant likely to join them.
No need to tank when things are just going badly.
“I had (assistant coach for player development) Jarron Collins turn to me and say, ‘We need more balance in our offense.’ Phenomenal. It saved a really bad night. We were horrible to that point and Klay just decided to take over, and it was incredible to witness.” – Golden State coach Steve Kerr on Thompson’s record-breaking third quarter.