By: Rob Botts
The “Splash Brothers” of Golden State. The best back court in the NBA and the two greatest shooters I have ever seen play together on one squad. Mr. Klay Thompson, the man with quickest release on a catch in the league and the owner of a 37 point quarter in his young career, and Mr. Stephen Curry, the current back to back MVP, ended up being just too much for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Warriors took game 7, 96-88.
Yes, the Thunder’s 2 superstars of their own unfortunately had reverted back to some old turnover habits when it mattered most and couldn’t put together anything big in game 7. For Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, it was game 6 that really sealed their fate. But, truth be told, their fate, along with every other team in the league was already sealed before the ball was even thrown up for the 2015-2016 NBA campaign. They were going to get back to the finals and they are going to win. Sorry Cleveland.
The road to get back to the finals this year for the Warriors was a huge test of what they were really made of. You truly find out who you are when you are down. Not when you are up. Their down was a 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference Finals and a very large mountain with Durant and Westbrook’s mugs carved into the side of it to climb. And oh man did they climb.
The shooting of Curry and Thompson over the last couple of games was beyond clutch. It was an absolute necessity for their team to survive. With every tickling of the twine by their sweet shots it became more and more apparent they we are watching something special in these two players. For years we have heard small ball was easy to beat by pounding them down low. You live by the three you die by the three. While these opinions / statements / strategies had been proven correct over the years, these two Warriors have rendered them obsolete when applied to their squad in particular.
When watching these two dudes shoot the rock you are thinking alright, they are gonna get cold at some point right? Well, yes, they can get cold. But it is very rare for the two of them to go into the freezer at the same time. Also, it only takes one with them to get it going for them to become scorching hot. Then, once the oven is hot, it’s time to bake some “game over” chocolate chip cookies for the opposing team to enjoy as they sit and sulk in their loser locker room. Got milk?
When you start looking at the specifics in Thompson and Curry’s moves to get their shots off, it is a thing of beauty that has been perfected by hours and hours of practice by these two. Oh, and loads and loads of talent as well.
Let’s take Klay first. Sure he can get his shot off and in when using the dribble but that isn’t his special sauce. It is his quick release off the catch. Whether it is off a screen, a curl or a straight V cut to the ball, as soon as the leather hits his hands, it is up and it is on it’s way to the rim. The pass can be low, high or off target, but that doesn’t stop Thompson from getting the ball into his shooting position lightning fast. He is so good at shot release adaptation that he doesn’t even need to have his feet set or even pointed towards the bucket. This gives the defender absolutely no chance at all. Doesn’t matter how close the defender is. That speed just gives the defender an up close view of the horror that is being unleashed on him.
Then there is this year’s first unanimous MVP in league history. Curry has the ball on a string at all times and it is never known by the defender which TIME he will pull up for his deadly shot. There is nobody better in the history of the game at making the exact same juke and go dribble move and finishing with either a high arching floater in the lane or a 35 foot three point bomb. The distance and release point always seem to vary depending on what situation he finds or puts himself in on the floor. Now matter where Steph’s story starts on the floor it almost always has the same ending. Buckets.
But the one thing that these two players possess that is death to any team playing them, is their ability to be clutch. Two clutch, incredible shooters on the same team. So far, no team has figured out the correct combination of elements in the proper order and amount to create the Kryptonite to stop these two supermen and back to back champions to be, up by the bay