Klay’s latest Game 6 magic means more to the Warriors star

SAN FRANCISCO – Klay Thompson beat Mike Brown to the punch. Thompson has had only one NBA home since the Warriors drafted him in 2011. But Brown, the Warriors’ interim head coach with Steve Kerr for COVID-19, has been around for more than half of Thompson’s professional career since joining. Golden State’s staff as of the 2016-17 season.

Brown has seen the ups and downs Thompson has endured. He wanted to thank him for his last standout Friday night at Chase Center after the Warriors’ 110-96 win over the Memphis Grizzlies to close out the Western Conference Semifinals. But Thompson had a message for his coach first.

One that only Klay could tell at this exact moment.

“When I went to give him a hug, I was ready to say, ‘I love you and good job,’” Brown told reporters. “I started saying that. It was crazy, the only thing he said was ‘Mike Brown, I’m gonna miss you next year when you’re in Sacramento. I’m gonna miss you yelling at me, telling me to come back to the defense of the transition.

“I said, ‘Okay, Klay.’ It’s Clay.”

From the time the Warriors made him their first draft pick nearly 11 years ago, Thompson has been nothing short of a 1-on-1. His latest recall sent the Grizzlies home for good. .

Thompson has a long history of heroism when playing a Game 6. Maybe there’s something in his water, maybe it’s the smell of the sea. , everyone knows what could happen and what is about to happen when he steps down for Game 6 of a playoff series.

Yes, it happened again. The second he let his first 3-point attempt slip away, it was clear what we were in for.

Thompson finished his night and the Grizzlies season with a game-high 30 points. He went 11 for 22 from the field, made his first five 3-pointers and finished 8 for 14 from long range. It wasn’t just a demo shot of the Splash Brother, but a full game to get closer to the ultimate prize.

While sinking the net in front of home fans, Thompson also added eight rebounds, two assists and three blocks. Whether it was scoring on the scoreboard, battling for rebounds or playing solid defense against Grizzlies sniper Desmond Bane, Thompson answered the call whenever the Warriors had to dial his number.

This one meant more.

“It was better,” Thompson said of his legendary last 6 teams game. It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe, honestly.

“It’s really amazing, it just inspires me to keep going because I think we still have some great basketball ahead of us.”

The last time Thompson found himself in a Game 6, he put on a show to try to keep the Warriors season alive before seeing the next two and a half years of his career taken from him. He scored 30 points and made four of his six 3-point attempts in 32 minutes in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors with the Warriors three games to two.

His last two points that night came from the free throw line after limping out of the tunnel with a torn left ACL. Thompson drained both free throw attempts and even ran on defense. There’s a Klay Thompson, and there’s only one Game 6 Klay.

Fast forward nearly three years later, and the culmination of Thompson’s first crack in a Game 6 since that heartbreaking night north of the border came on his last shot of the night. It was a 28-foot 3-pointer assisted by the other hero of the game, Kevon Looney, giving the Warriors a 105-92 lead with just under three minutes left, which forced a Grizzlies timeout.

The game finally felt out of reach and the 32-year-old was finally able to let out all his emotions of the past 35 months.

“Well, 30 sounds a lot better than 27,” Thompson joked of his reaction to his final 3-pointer of the win. “On top of that, I had a lot of pent up energy the last two years, and to be in that situation and to seal the game there, it all came out.

“I just know how hard it is to get to this part of the season and it all came out for me. And to see the Warrior fans, it’s a moment I tried to savor for the few seconds that I had.”

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Draymond Green considered his longtime teammate “the toughest, most competitive player I’ve ever played with”. Steph Curry called it a “different joy, different energy”. In reality, it all felt good with Thompson back on top of the mountain with Game 6 calling his name.

The above trio reached the Western Conference Finals for the sixth straight time despite all being healthy. They have qualified for the NBA Finals the previous five times. It’s where they’ve always felt like they belong, and every drop of sweat that spilled on the hardwood Friday night in San Francisco earned them four more wins in a Best of the West vs. best in the east.

Countless long days turned into sleepless nights. All the self-reflection, all the hard work, all the questions that turned into answers was worth it.

Heroes remember, legends never die. Game 6 Klay is forever.

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