When you think of the Warriors what are the first images that pop into your mind? Steph Curry? The man who – except for games 3 and 4 of this series – seems to hit from all over the court?
Or maybe it’s Draymond Green and his boisterous personality that seems to bring life to the Warriors when they need it the most.
Maybe it’s even head coach Steve Kerr, who gives some of the best interviews ever.
But last night, Klay Thompson shined on one of the biggest stages reminding everyone that he’s an incredible NBA talent – even if he’s quieter and more overlooked than the rest of his team.
I’m a huge Klay Thompson fan. Ask Max. Every time we play NBA 2k or talk about our favorite players my team isn’t complete without Anthony Davis or Thompson. Last night however, with all the attention on him, with millions of eyeballs glued to the TV, with prayers going up from Oracle arena and the opposite prayers going up from OKC, Thompson put on a show for the ages.
He hit 11 threes setting an NBA record, and he also guarded Russell Westbrook for most of the game. That might be the most impressive part because guarding Westbrook looks like the most tiring, challenging, difficult task in the NBA. The guy has a motor that just never stops and he is one of the fastest players I’ve ever watched. He has incredible vision and strength – a deadly combo. But Klay hung with Russ to the best of his ability, and he didn’t let it impact his play at the other end of the court.
Thompson showed last night that not only is he the second best shooter in the game (hmmm, I wonder who #1 might be?) but he’s also one of the top 5 best two-way players in the NBA right now. We forget about him during the regular season when he’s constantly defending some of the best guards in the games. He remains almost a quiet assassin, disrupting a team’s offense on one end and then making an opponent’s offense look silly for guarding him as the Warriors’ third option.
He’s had arguably one of the best overall postseasons this year, perhaps only behind LeBron’s incredible dominance. Thompson had to step up in Curry’s absence in the early rounds – and he did. Now he has to be able to go from defending Westbrook to nailing a three within seconds – an incredible challenge – but last night he did it.
And he did it wearing Yoda socks! Come on if you didn’t like Thompson before this might have to be the icing on the cake.
I don’t know how else to describe his performances recently other than a will to make sure his team doesn’t lose. Remember back in Game 4 – a game I thought was do or die for this Golden State team – he scored 19 straight in a row? Now granted they lost that game 118-94, but he tried his hardest to give his team a shot. He did the same thing yesterday, the only difference was he had help.
Now, let’s be clear, Klay’s incredible performance will be for absolutely nothing if his team flops in front of their fans at home on Monday. And I’m sure Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and Billy Donovan and everyone else that wears an OKC jersey will have their eye on number 11. But you know what, I think he might be ok with that.