In Game 6 of the NBA Western Conference Finals at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, the Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson hit an NBA playoff record 11 three-pointers, with 41 points in total, to help defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder and force a series-deciding Game 7 in Oakland.
The May 28th 2016 match-up was highlighted by Thompson’s unprecedented shooting prowess, stealing the limelight from his reigning two-time MVP teammate Stephen Curry’s 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, as the Warriors came back to outscore the Thunder by 15 points in the final quarter to win 108-101 .
Thompson had 16 points at half-time, continuing to provide consistency (26.5 ppg during the playoffs) for a team that had won an NBA regular season record 73 games and cruised through the playoffs until the difficult Thunder series, where they had found themselves 3-1 down after two horrific road losses.
However it was the second half where Thompson shot as fast as his machine-gun namesake, finishing with the following shot chart..
..highlighted by these displays of catch-and-shoot wizardry…
..before hitting this three from almost half court to break the record:
As the other half of the “Splash Brothers”, Curry sealed the win with a floater over renowned shot-blocker Serge Ibaka (13 pts, 9 rbnds, 3 blks):
The Thunder, bolstered by their boisterous home crowd..
..led the game until three minutes before the final buzzer, off of the solid yet inefficient performances of their stars Russell Westbrook (28 pts on 10-27 shooting, 11 asts, 9 rbnds, 4 stls, 5 turnovers) and Kevin Durant (29 pts on 10-31 shooting, 7 rbnds, 3 blks, 3 turnovers):
The play of breakout Thunder role player Andre Roberson proved crucial, who was limited to under 30 minutes due to foul trouble, but had eight rebounds, three blocks and a steal, and 5-5 shooting from the field:
Center Steven Adams, who had nine points and rebounds but was also limited by foul trouble, got payback against Warriors forward Draymond Green (14 pts, 12 rbnds, 6asts, 3 stls), who had kicked him in the nuts in game 4, and subsequently set Twitter ablaze:
Nonetheless, it was the clutch play of Thompson, Curry and forward Andre Igoudala (8 pts, 7 rbnds, 3 stls) that proved the difference:
The Thunder shot only 3 of 23 from three point land, as opposed to the Warriors’ 21 of 44, and didn’t convincingly out-rebound the Warriors as they did in their Games 1, 3 and 4 wins.
The series meets its conclusion in Oakland on Monday, where home court advantage due an undoubtedly packed Oracle Arena, and the momentum of winning two straight games after overcoming the 3-1 adversity, will make the Warriors favourites to reach the NBA Finals for the second year in a row.
The tough Thunder unit, who are capable of winning crucial playoff games on the road (see Game 1 of the series and 2016 playoff record against the Dallas Mavericks and higher-seeded San Antonio Spurs), can never be counted out. But they are facing a historically deep and talented team: