For all the bluster about being “Light Years” ahead of the competition, the margin for error is dangerously slim in today’s NBA. Coming into the game rolling on an 11-game win streak, it was hard to fathom the Golden State Warriors dropping one at Oracle.
But then the pregame news came in: no Klay Thompson - out with an illness (turns out he had a bad headache).
Stephen Curry is amazing, part ... I’ve lost count
We actually stopped doing these “best player” features for a while because it was pretty much just always Stephen Curry. Well, 41 points on 14-of-27 shooting from the field and a godly 10-of-18 line from three is certainly enough to qualify him yet again for this coveted award.
Rather than duplicate a lot of it, I encourage everyone to click on over to Joe Viray’s excellent article on Curry’s game.
Fittingly, Curry’s night was only marred by a serious of bad decisions and inexplicable plays. But this is par for the course with Curry - a man who has made a name for himself taking ill-advised shots. Mostly, they go in. But sometimes, we also get an airball step-back three from 40 feet out with 12 seconds still on the shot clock.
Steph has 20 points and 4 what-are-you-doing????? plays— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) February 1, 2019
Klay Thompson’s notable absence
On the offensive end, we missed Thompson’s shooting. Outside of Stephen Curry, the team went an almost Houston Rockets-level outside shooting disaster - just one make in twenty attempts for everyone not named Steph Curry.
If anyone is seriously still doubting Thompson’s all-star pedigree, just look at what happens when he’s not available. I’m not saying we need to go full Clockwork Orange on people or anything, but a simple glance at the box score reveals how little outside shooting we got.
FINAL: 76ers 113, Warriors 104 pic.twitter.com/5sDs9OGljd— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) February 1, 2019
And defensively, it was probably even more important. Ben Simmons, a Center trapped in a Point Guard’s mindset was devastating. 26 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists to go along with a block and three steals as he abused anyone we threw at him. This would normally be Thompson’s assignment.
You know that one person at work who has a job no one else can do? Whether it be graphic design or a technical role, there’s just some people who are irreplaceable. Without Thompson the Warriors spacing on offense was all messed up, their defense was on it’s heels all night, and then JJ Reddick hit a game sealing shot that I’m sure Klay would have blocked (and then run coast-to-coast for the power jam on the other end).
That’s Klay. And he’s wonderful.