OAKLAND–Klay Thompson was half-way through this conversation, patiently re-living and re-counting as much as he could, then he stopped, shook his head and found the words he was really seeking.
“God, I can’t believe it’s a year already,” Thompson said with a resounding full-body shrug.
Yes, it does seem amazing–of course, the date (May 28, 2016) and the circumstances (Game 6 of the Western Conference finals in Oklahoma City, with the Warriors trailing 3-1 after a record-setting 73-victory regular season) are permanently rooted in practical fact and history.
But a blink or two after it was over, after Thompson’s 41-point performance, and playoff-record-setting 11 three-pointers (on 18 attempts) kept the Warriors’ season alive that night, the moment seemed like it was already existing out of time and beyond normal sports dimensions, moving into some higher, cloudier plane.
This was the game that changed everything, even though it didn’t lead to a Warriors a championship, and by itself joins Michael Jordan’s shot against Utah in the 1998 NBA Finals, the Patriots-Raiders “Tuck Rule” playoff and just a handful of other iconic sporting events that stand alone, immortal and in their own elevated cosmos.
A playoff game for all-time, leaving mortals strewn about in its wake.
“I know that if not for Klay’s remarkable performance,” Warriors assistant coach Jarron Collins said recently,
“there’s a different road being traveled right now.”
One large consequence: Thanks to Thompson, the Warriors won…
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