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Benched Thompson torches Utah with 35

KLAY Thompson sizzles for 35 points to power the Golden State Warriors to a 140-137 win over the Utah Jazz in the NBA regular season. | ALEX GOODLETT/ AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Klay Thompson came off the bench for the first time in 12 years and scored a season-high 35 points on Thursday to lead Golden State over Utah, 140-137.

The 34-year-old American guard, who has helped the Warriors capture four National Basketball Association titles, also reached the NBA career 15,000-point milestone as Golden State (27-26) won for the eighth time in 10 games.

“Klay coming off the bench gives us a lot of firepower,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of the move.

“We’ll give it a little look and see where it goes from there.”

Thompson, who had not been a Golden State reserve since March 2012 as an NBA rookie, was himself replaced as a starter by a rookie, Brandin Podziemski, who scored 13 points.

Thompson hit 13-of-22 shots from the floor, 7-of-13 from 3-point range, and made the adjustment well according to Kerr.

“He handled everything beautifully,” Kerr said.

“The way he came out — determined, competitive — that’s not easy, to come off the bench for the first time in (more than) 11 years. It’s difficult.”

“But Klay is a champion. He’s one of the most competitive people I’ve ever met. He responded accordingly and played a great game.”

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