Oklahoma City’s late game collapse on Saturday night, will be talked about for a long time if Game 7 goes against them tonight. Oh yeah, it was a choke. Capital “C.”
That said, the way the Warriors surged past the stunned Thunder was equally amazing and perfectly emblematic of their style of utterly fearless basketball.
Tied at 101, Andre Igoudala rakes Westbrook for a clean steal as he turns for a short jumper. Now, at this moment, most teams would SLOW it down, set up a great shot by their best player. Hell, most of them would call a timeout.
Not these maniacs.
Igoudala begins to surge ahead with his stolen prize, but just two dribbles into his foray up court – two, I counted – he spots a streaking Klay Thompson up ahead on the right wing.
Without hesitation, Igoudala surrenders his dribble at his OWN FREE THROW LINE, to deliver a two handed lazer chest-pass that pieces the broken defense in transition.
Upon arrival, Thompson doesn’t hesitate. Either he didn’t see a wide open Steph Curry streaking uncontested for a layup, or he just didn’t care. Why should he? A sniper with no conscience, Thompson stops his running momentum with elegance and power, and pogo-sticks into the air with perfect form – square shoulders, no lean.
A desperate Kevin Durant, having just been burned the possession prior for a mere 2 second lapse against Steph Curry from 25 feet out, flew at full speed to try to contest. No chance.
The shot found paydirt with such certainty, it just FELT like a great shot to take at that moment.
But it wasn’t. It was, by definition a terrible shot. It went against every by-the-book notion of “smart” basketball, in a tie game, in the final two minutes, on the road, with elimination hanging over your head.
And that’s what made it so fucking awesome.
Nothing against the premiere shooters of 20 years ago, but this new breed is pushing the envelope of range, space, and situation. The argument in favor of volume 3-point shooting has always been a numbers game.
But now, more players are such good shooters from out deep, the argument has changed. With great fundamentals, it’s an easy shot if you have a clean look.
Of all the spectacular plays in this series, this one, which didn’t LOOK like much, will remain my favorite.