OKC knew it wouldn’t be easy to close out the Western Conference Finals in six. Even if Billy Donovan & Co.’s bandwagon was so full that people were falling off the sides and trying to hang onto the tires like they were in shark-filled waters.
The NBA’s defending champions were down 3-1 in this series. OKC had just thrashed Steve Kerr’s record-breaking band of ball busters 118-94. OKC was thoroughly defeating them in every aspect of the game and Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were dropping dunks, jumpers, dimes and hints that it was finally their time to not only advance to another Finals, but finally win one. Steph Curry looked like a poodle at times, feverishly and fiercely fighting to outmaneuver the hawking doberman pinschers playing pitbull defense.
We know the truth, though. Deep down under the newly found bravado expressed by OKC supporters, they knew that the series was far from over. A team wins 73 games for a reason. And with Golden State operating at 100 percent, it was unlikely that they would lose four of five or six games to one team. The math didn’t add up.
Neither did Klay Thompson’s 2-for-9 three-point shooting night in Game 5. The man who holds the NBA record for most points in a quarter with 37, showed us why by dropping a heavy-handed 41 points with a playoff-record 11 3-pointers, leading the defending champions to a 108-101 victory over the Oklahoma City to set up a Game 7 at home. Overall, Golden State was back on it’s bullsh*t again, dropping 21 treys in the game.
The two-time MVP Curry started slow, but messed around and nearly got a triple-double (31 points, 10 boards and nine assists). It was Klay's time to shine though. Even Curry knew that for Golden State to keep alive their hopes of becoming the 10th team to overcome a 3-1 deficit and advanced to the NBA Finals against LBJ’s Ohio Players, on Saturday it would be the penetrating palms of Thompson and the magnificence of his incomparable aerial excellence that would get them one step closer.
Thompson scored 19 points in the fourth quarter to help the Warriors squash an eight-point deficit.
"Steph told me before I went out in the fourth, `This is your time,"' Thompson said. "`You know, put on a show out there and have fun.' I took those words to heart, and I just tried to be aggressive."
Let’s not forget that it is also Klay who guards the opposing team’s ball controller. In addition to making clutch shots at the most crucial moments of the game, Thompson held Westbrook, who had been unguardable in this series, to 10 of 27 shooting. Durant was just as inefficient swishing just 10 of 31 heaves.
Now it’s set up for a classic Game 7 at Oracle Arena, a place the Splash Brothers own. OKC beat them there in Game 1 with a Herculean effort. It will take much of the same on Memorial Day night. If Golden State does advance, expect Thompson who has averaged a strong 25.3 points per game this series to get the Conference Finals MVP Award. His Game 6 heroics are already the stuff of legends and are part of NBA playoff lore forever. Media heads and fans may shape the narrative, but the players make the game and performances like Thompson’s is proof.