Klay Thompson made his fourth consecutive appearance coming off the bench for the Golden State Warriors this season, leading the second unit during the 119-103 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night at Chase Center.

I never really looked at coming off the bench as a demotion considering I’m still playing 25 to 30 minutes a night,” Thompson said, via NBC Sports. “I’ve been in this league a long time and to still be contributing at a high level and playing those type of minutes, you got to be grateful for that.”

Though his team couldn’t get the win, Thompson made quite an impression by posting an impressive 23 points in 31 minutes of action. Only Stephen Curry (32′) spent more time on the court.

Steve Kerr‘s decision to bench Klay gave a lot to talk about given Thompson’s history with the franchise, but the player is not making a big deal about it. Right now, the Dubs’ starting five is Brandin Podziemski, Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga, and Draymond Green.

Thompson delivered a 35-point performance in his first game coming off the bench against Utah Jazz before the All-Star break, with just three points in the first game after the break vs. the Los Angeles Lakers and 13 points against the Charlotte Hornets on Friday.

Stephen Curry, Steve Kerr praise Klay Thompson

Even the game — Was the LA game where he only had three points? — It was one of the better all-around floor games he’s had where he took what the defense gave him, took the shots he’s supposed to shoot, most of them didn’t go in but the way the game flows and where he gets his opportunities, he was always making the right play,” Curry said about Thompson Sunday. “Playing great defense on whoever his matchup was. Got us some rebounds, extra possessions that way. And then tonight, it’s kind of the opposite where he’s hot and giving us a huge lead and huge boost the first nine minutes he was out there.

Thompson said he took inspiration from San Antonio Spurs legend Manu Ginobili to accept his new role, as the Argentine legend also had a team-first mentality to come off the bench without hesitation.

“It all comes from understanding no matter if it’s a starting role, bench role, whatever it is, he’s still Klay Thompson and he can come in and do exactly what he did tonight,” Curry added. “I know he wanted to shoot better in the second half but the more reps he gets and the more confidence he has to just go out there and play basketball and don’t let the narratives kind of consume him, that’s when he’s at his best.”

The Warriors have won three out of four games with Thompson leading the second unit, as Golden State finds itself 10th in the West with a 29-27 record. Kerr is looking for a string of good results in the final stretch of the season, and he appreciates Thompson’s commitment.

His approach feels so much better than it was even a few weeks ago,” Kerr said. “This has been an emotional season for him. You guys know this. He’s been grappling with his mortality in some ways as an athlete. He knows how good he was six years ago and he’s had a hard time reconciling everything after the injuries. And the thing we keep trying to convince him of is that he’s still a hell of a player.

But he’s at his best when he’s not pressing and he’s not stressed out and worried about trying to be the guy he was six years ago. I think coming off the bench has maybe helped in that regard. I just notice he’s more relaxed. His approach, his leadership in the locker room, it feels different, and I think he’s starting to get more comfortable with the role but all the biggest picture stuff that has been bothering him.”

Thompson is playing on an expiring contract, and at 34, it’s uncertain what kind of deal the Warriors plan to offer him at the end of the season. His numbers suggest he’s no longer the player he was during the dynasty’s best years, but there’s still time for him to prove his worth.