I still remember it like it was yesterday.
The 73-win Golden State Warriors on the brink of elimination in the 2017 Western Conference Finals, trailing the Oklahoma City Thunder 83-75 going into the fourth quarter of Game 6. Down 3-2 in the series, the Dubs needed someone to be the hero and step up to save the season.
Golden State looked tired early in the game. Even though the Dubs only trailed by five points at the half, they looked worn out. Steph Curry made just two shots in the opening 24 minutes, but fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson kept the Warriors within striking distance, scoring 15 points in the first half.
Oklahoma City carried momentum through the third quarter, outscoring the defending champs 30-27, building an eight-point lead going into the final quarter, with the crowd at Chesapeake Arena anticipating a second NBA Finals appearance in four years.
Thompson brought the Warriors back to within five just 30 seconds into the fourth when he hit a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer over Thunder wing Anthony Morrow, his seventh 3-ball of the game.
But it seemed like anytime Golden State would get it to within five, Oklahoma City answered. The teams exchanged baskets before a Steven Adams free throw gave the Thunder a 91-84 lead with 5:48 left in the game.
This was it for the Warriors. It was do-or-die to force a Game 7, or end a record-setting season with a bitter loss in the Western Conference Finals.
Thompson hit a layup from in-close to get back within five, but future Warrior Kevin Durant made his only basket of the final quarter on mid-range jumper (he finished 1-for-8 in the fourth), to put the Thunder back up by seven.
Golden State needed a huge play on its next possession if it wanted to have a chance to win the game. Thompson — who had nine 3-pointers up until this point — caught the ball at the edge of the Thunder’s half-court logo, awkwardly squared up, and did this:
Andre Roberson and Draymond Green each hit a free throw, keeping it a four-point game. That is when Curry came alive. Steph hit from deep, cutting the deficit to one, before Russell Westbrook hit a pair of free throws to put OKC back up by two.
Curry would hit again from deep on the Dubs’ next possession, evening up the score at 99-99. Roberson and Andrew Iguodala exchanged layups, and with the game tied up at 101 Iguodala came up with a big steal off Westbrook, setting up Thompson’s moment.
Iggy found Klay on the break, and Thompson didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger, hitting the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:35 left on the clock.
It was Thompson’s 11th bucket from deep, and the final nail in the Thunder’s coffin. Golden State would go on to a 108-101 win, and force a Game 7 back in Oakland.
Thompson finished the game with 41 points, including 19 in the fourth quarter alone. He has had some magical moments as a Warrior, but under the circumstances, this is the one that sits atop the list.
What are your memories of Game 6?