LOS ANGELES -- Stephen Curry wasn't himself, certainly not the dominant player he had been to close the regular season.

But that didn't seem to throw the Warriors off their game too much because they had another playmaker: Klay Thompson.

The Warriors took Game 1 from the host Clippers because Thompson filled the void, making several critical plays down the stretch. He's had big playoff games before, but this one showed the maturation he's experienced as a player this season.

He had a rough shooting night but still was the puzzle the Clippers couldn't decipher. It was a glimpse of how good he's gotten as he continues to piece his game together.

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, right, puts up a shot as Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin defends during the second half in Game 1 of
Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, right, puts up a shot as Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin defends during the second half in Game 1 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series, Saturday, April 19, 2014, in Los Angeles. The Warriors won 109-105. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) ( Mark J. Terrill )

"I'm a lot more comfortable in my third year," Thompson said. "I feel like I made a big jump this year. I'm being more composed, taking better shots, getting to the rim more."

In keeping with the growth he's shown throughout the season, his contributions were multifaceted. He got to the rim off the dribble. He made the double team pay by making the smart pass. He hit big shots when the Warriors had to have a basket.

Simply, Thompson was the Warriors' playmaker down the stretch Saturday.

He finished with a game-high 22 points to go with seven rebounds and five assists. He had six points and three assists in the fourth quarter. And the whole time he chased around Chris Paul.


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Against the Clippers, Thompson is arguably the Warriors' most favorable match-up since Curry has his hands full with Paul and Lee with Blake Griffin.

"Chris Paul had 28, but it was a tough 28," Draymond Green said. "He never lets up. One thing that goes under the radar is that Klay's a dog. He never backs down from a situation. If I've got to go to war, I want him with me."

That's a sentiment shared in the Warriors' locker room. The Warriors' front office wants Thompson with them, too. But the price is going up.

With his overall development, Thompson is looking less like Curry's shooting buddy and more like the piece that makes this all work for the Warriors. He could ask for a maximum extension this offseason and not blink.

He also could work out a deal to help the Warriors' cap flexibility, but he's certainly going to cost more than most previously thought. And how could the Warriors not pay him, considering his value to the team?

He takes pressure off Curry on both ends of the court. He is the youngest of the core and has consistently gotten better.

These pieces to Thompson's game have developed since he came to the league. He's grown from a volume shooter to one of the best two-way players at his position.

His ability, and willingness, to attack the rim has improved throughout the season. He's become so clutch for the Warriors, highlighted by his game-winner at Indiana.

Saturday, his progress was on display at the most opportune of times.

Curry was non-factor in the fourth quarter. The Clippers dispatched pesky, speedy guard Darren Collison to harass Curry, backed up by a waiting help defender. And with little rest, having logged a team-high 45 minutes, Curry didn't seem to have much in the tank.

So coach Mark Jackson started running the offense through Thompson. It was the same isolation ball that had bogged the Warriors' offense down at points during the season. But this day it worked because Thompson varied his approach.

Early in the fourth quarter, he drove past Clippers guard J.J. Redick found Jermaine O'Neal inside for a dunk. That put the Warriors up 91-80.

Midway through the quarter, he followed a 3-pointer by setting up a Lee dunk, both answering baskets by the Clippers.

With 3:04 left, the Warriors' lead down to 100-99, Thompson took Paul inside and dropped in a fade-away jumper.

Not even a minute later, the Warriors trailed. But Thompson tracked down a rebound, led the break and set up Barnes for an open 3, giving the Warriors the lead back.

Fittingly, it was Thompson's free throw that eventually sealed the Game 1 upset.

The next step for Thompson is being more consistent.

Usually, he is the barometer for how well the Warriors our playing. When he's on, the Warriors are pretty special. When he struggles mightily, it has a ripple effect that leads to the disappointing losses that have stained this season.

Saturday, though, was an example of how Thompson has diversified his game to make sure he impacts the game. If that becomes the reality of Thompson's game. the Warriors backcourt is that much more formidable. If that becomes the reality of this series, the Clippers are in big trouble.

Read Marcus Thompson II's blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/thompson. Contact him at mthomps2@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ThompsonScribe.