The Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson is, perhaps, the second greatest shooter to ever live. Blessed with great size for a shooting guard, near limitless range, and a lightning quick release, he’s a threat the moment he’s out of your field of vision. Why then, is he so often forgotten?
In two of the past three years, the Warriors have faced elimination in the Western Conference Finals only to have Klay Thompson save the day.
Against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook pairing, the Warriors fell behind in the series 3-1. After the Warriors won Game 5 at home, the Thunder led for most of Game 6 in Oklahoma City.
Thompson scored 41 points, including 33 from deep, and 19 in the fourth quarter to save the Warriors’ season.
After a sloppy first quarter in Game 6 left the Warriors trailing at home to the Houston Rockets, Golden State found its footing in the second quarter; getting Klay Thompson going by having Draymond Green slip a ball screen for Stephen Curry only to set an off-ball pick for Thompson.
The Warriors’ best identity revolves around constant motion and, as such, Thompson is its greatest barometer. Thompson scored 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting in the second quarter, helping Golden State overcome a 39-22 deficit after the first 12 minutes to outscored them 29-22 in the second.
His movement off-the-ball, cutting for layups, circling in and out of the lane before setting a pick-and-pop with Kevin Durant, and even providing some secondary shot creation of his own. Klay Thompson scored 35 points on 23 shots, including 9-for-14 from deep to force a Game 7.
More importantly, his night helped the Warriors recover their identity, finally providing the blueprint to overcome the Rockets’ switching defense. Thompson is, perhaps, the only NBA player who can score 40 points while taking fewer dribbles than shots. Just when you think you have him under control is when he’s at his deadliest.