Welcome to the third, and final installment of the Gold-Blooded Dagger Awards. The polls are already raging for our other two pieces in this collection: “The Shots That Ran LeBron James Out Of Cleveland”, and “Buzzer Beaters”.
Now, we travel into the “Most Disrespectful” category. There were thousands to choose from, so I had to follow my gut in curating which shots truly humiliated the Golden Empire’s rivals.
Make sure you vote after you’ve perused, and don’t hesitate to let us know if you can remember another shot worthy of being included in this glorious display of arrogant shot-making. Enjoy, Dub Nation!
Game 6 Klay: The Younger Splash Brother’s Ascension in OKC, May 28th, 2016
“I watch highlights sometimes, just to see what I did right,” Thompson said. “You know, I was in a good rhythm. I always think back on it because the playoffs are so much fun.”
This is the game that broke new ground in the uncharted territory of my heart’s love for the Golden State Warriors.
In May of 2016, my then-girlfriend, now-fiancee, was being introduced to my then fanatical love for our hometown team. Although from the Bay, she had only known the Warriors as the team with the weird muscly superhero with the lightning bolt as the mascot. How fitting, that she was with me nervously watching, as the Oklahoma City Thunder, the team whose birth spelled the death of our beloved former mascot of the same name, kick our ass in the Western Conference Finals.
The Thunder held a punishing 3-1 lead over the defending champion Dubs, holding the young rulers by their throats over the bottomless pit of elimination. The two-headed monster of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook led a mob of athletic, gusty role players. Their coach looked like an evil mastermind from a Die Hard movie. Their frothing crowd was jealously sick for another Finals trip; raging for their team in a support that burned into a delirious fever.
She turned to me at one point as the Warriors started losing the rope during Game 6 of the WCF, and asked me, “Why do you think the Warriors are losing like this? We’re a good team, right?”.
“The best”, I quietly muttered. “Um, they are bigger than us, and faster. They’re all the kids you would pick if you were just choosing guys on the playground...but if we hit our shots we’ll be fine.”
“Hitting our shots” was turning out to be quite the daunting proposition as the Thunders hyper-athletes smothered everything inside the paint that game, as they had the whole series. But I noticed there was one Warrior who seemed surprisingly unperturbed by anything going. His name was Klay Thompson, the most dangerous sniper in the NBA not named Stephen Curry.
He was quietly chiseling away at a giant block of marble. sculpting the game into his greatest postseason work-of-art. Every time the Thunder would seem to choke the Warriors out, Thompson would promptly deliver a neccessary bucket to keep the Dubs alive. But it wasn’t until his tenth three-pointer broke the NBA record for most threes in a postseason that I began to realize just how historically hot he was.
And that shot brought us to within four with just under five minutes to play. That’s how tense the night was; how crucial Thompson’s performance was.
The shot itself was the equivalent to a Jean-Claude Van Damme roundhouse kick. From henceforth in this piece, I will be referring to Klay by his first name.
His mama call him Klay; I’mma call him Klay.
KLAY caught a pass like, at the OKC logo. He flicked a glance to his right side, processing how disrespectful it was for his defender, Westbrook. to not be guarding closer. Even though Klay had already drilled nine threes at that point (the record), Westbrook didn’t think Klay would actually make a shot from thaaat far away. Maybe even because Klay was awkwardly stanced, his left leg jutted out for a potential drive.
As usual, Westbrook had no idea what he was about to happen. Who the hell shoots from that position, anyway?
KLAY, THAT’S WHO.
Klay would finish with 41 points, an NBA postseason record 11 threes, and most importantly, a win as the Warriors survived, 108-101. The champs would go on to Oakland and finish the job in 7, winning their second consecutive Western Conference crown. The Thunder would never be relevant to the title scene again (lmao), as Kevin Durant matriculated to the Bay and joined the Golden Empire.
Klaw 360: Unanimous Gets Jiggy on the Spurs’ Best Player, January 25th, 2016
Curry and other ball-handlers can make defenders look silly when they have the ball, but it’s rare to see a player shake a defender without the ball simply because the threat of that player getting the ball is so dangerous.
If the best defender on the best defensive team in the NBA can’t solve the Curry riddle, the rest of the NBA might be doomed.
— Scott Davis, Business Insider
For many moons, the Spurs kept a cold, iron grip on Golden State’s throat. Even after the Warriors achieved champion status in recent years, San Antonio loomed as the black shadow that would blot out the Golden Empire before it truly reached its potential. The battle-tested Spurs punished the young Dubs for every single mistake, every time. Any lazy passes, bad shots, or lack of hustle by the Warriors immediately fueled back-breaking Spurs runs.
The patient Warriors continued to adjust and grow under the harsh lessons they received from their seasoned rivals. Greatest point guard alive Stephen Curry led the charge, showing no fear of the moment, unleashing highlight reel plays directly in the face of the Spurs vaunted defensive strategies. Even grizzled Spurs coach and basketball guru Gregg Popovich called it “beautiful”.
The greatest single symbol of the changing of the guard occurred during a contentious regular season battle between the rivals in front of Dub Nation in Oracle. In one play, Curry reminded the world that even the Spurs could get embarrassed by a Curry Flurry.
In the second quarter, with the Warriors leading 55-38, Curry disassembled ex-Spur and former Defensive Player of the Year, Kawhi “The Irritated Whisper” Leonard on a three-point bucket. Curry exhibited the footwork of soccer player and the trickeration of a 13 year old being chased by his li’l cousins in a game of tag in the front yard.
I was stunned that Leonard, the larger player, was smooth and agile enough to nearly mirror Curry’s ridiculous movements, every part except the random moment where Curry pump-faked a potential bomb. That window was all Curry need to unleash a positively vicious chain of direction, step-back dagger in Leonard’s wake that electrified the Oakland crowd.
Yah, up until then it felt like Kawhi could just take the ball from Steph whenever he wanted— Eric Apricot (@EricApricot) June 16, 2018
The Warriors would win the game 120-90, shedding light on their desire to devour the still-beating heart of the aging San Antonio Spurs dynasty. Curry’s daring three-pointer was hella gold-blooded.
The Thrills Have Eyes: Curry Stares Down Ibaka, May 26th, 2016
There are so many daggers the Warriors have hit on the Thunder, it’s hard for individual ones to stand out. Still, anytime Curry turns to a defensive specialist and burns him with a hot glare WHILE A THREE-POINTER HANGS IN THE AIR, it’s got to make the “Most Disrespectful” list.
The fact that it came in an elimination game while the Warriors trailed 3-1, shows you the level of confidence Curry carries.
Come get some Serge!
High-Five: Steph Weaponizes Joy During Preseason, October 5th, 2015
During a pre-season contest following the Warriors 2015 championship, the Warriors were feeling rather ornery. The NBA was cranking up the first generation of “The Warriors got lucky” hate, and Curry was furiously gearing up for his greatest season to date.
This clip of Curry launching a three-point bomb and literally high-fiving a giddy Andre Iguodala before it goes in, let the world know that there would be no championship hangover entering the 2015-2016 regular season.
Is this the absolutely intersection of supreme confidence + brilliant timing + team camraderie + shooting skill?
The Warriors would win the pre-season skirmish, 95-87. They also raised the bar on “humiliating hapless opponents”.
I’m Back: Curry Rips the Blazers Soul Out, May 9th, 2016
“You knew he’d catch his rhythm eventually,” Klay Thompson said. “He’s probably the best player in the world, the best shooter of all time. He was getting good looks. We’ll take those all day.” —ESPN
The champs were clinging to a 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference Semifinals to a game Portland Trailblazers crew. It was Curry’s first game since a scary MCL injury earlier in the first round. In a highly contested, back-and-forth battle between two high powered offenses, Curry came off of the bench and showed rust early on.
In the clutch, however, he showed why he was Unanimous MVP, carrying the Warriors to a crucial 132-125 victory. Curry erupted for an NBA record 17 points in overtime; the biggest three of those points came in this nominee for MGBS.
This triple from “Unanimous” effectively killed Portland’s dreams, and he celebrated by emphatically stomping around the Rose Garden, declaring he was back. Curry would finish with 40 points. This emotional loss for Portland started a streak of 10 straight postseason defeats for the Blazers, who seem to have never recovered from this gold-blooded trey.
Which dagger was Most Disrespectful?
This poll is closed
Game 6 Klay: The Younger Splash Brother’s Ascension in OKC
Klaw 360: Unanimous Gets Jiggy on the Spurs’ Best Player
The Thrills Have Eyes: Curry Stares Down Ibaka
High-Five: Steph Weaponizes Joy During Preseason
I’m Back: Curry Rips the Blazers Soul Out