HOUSTON -- About an hour after the Warriors dispatched the Rockets from the NBA playoffs Friday night, Klay Thompson had a unique reason for his Game 6 performance.
"I personally visualized the win," Thompson told NBC Sports Bay Area's Kerith Burke after the 118-113 win. "Through meditation and just focus."
With Kevin Durant out and a nonexistent bench, most outsiders had little foresight of what Thompson and the Warriors were about to pull off at Toyota Center.
In 40 minutes, Thompson scored 27 points, 21 of which came in the first half as Stephen Curry went scoreless. With little offense from others, Thompson made five 3-pointers, keeping Golden State in contention.
Durant's absence with a calf injury immediately sparked narratives of the Warriors reaching back into their "Strength in Numbers" past, marked by heavy passing and a massive dose of Thompson shots. Friday's start evoked memories of Thompson's performance in Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference finals, when, facing a 3-2 series deficit against Durant's Oklahoma City Thunder, he scored 41 points to carry the series back to the Bay Area -- cementing himself in Golden State postseason lore.
While the output wasn't the same against the Rockets, the mindset remained the same.
"Without Kevin [Durant] I knew I had to move a lot without the ball," Thompson said. "I had to get to my spots, rise up and shoot. You know when you’re missing one of the greatest players to ever play and the best scorer in the world, you can’t collectively make up for what he does, but you can step up in his absence and help out the point production."
Friday's performance put a bow on a notable series for Thompson. Two days after he sprained his ankle in Game 6 of the first-round series against the Clippers, Thompson shot just 38 percent through the first five games against the Rockets. However, it was his other responsibility -- covering Chris Paul -- that raised his teammates' eyebrows. Entering Friday night, Thompson held Paul -- who finished with 27 points on 11-of-19 shooting Wednesday night -- to just 38 percent shooting in one-on-one matchups.
"He completely took Chris out of this series," Warriors forward Draymond Green told NBC Sports Bay Area. "[Paul] had a good game today, but Klay completely took him out of the series the entire time."
Green's sentiments are in line with how Thompson is viewed in Golden State's locker room and why he believes he's worth a max contract this summer. Green, who's had a front-row seat for nearly all of Thompson's career-defining performances, said Friday's performance was more than expected.
"I've never seen Klay not show up in a big moment," Green continued. "He may miss some shots, as we all do. I've never seen him fold in the big moment. It's what he's made of. Competing, he's a f---ing dog. He'll never get credit for that, it's always, 'Oh, he can shoot.' Nah, he's a dog."
"He's one of the best two-way players in the game," Kerr added. "This is who Klay is. He's guarding James Harden, Chris Paul and [Eric] Gordon. He's guarding their best players. ... This is who Klay is."
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For now, with the rest of the weekend off and at least four days until the Warriors open the Western Conference finals at Oracle Arena, Thompson has one more request in his postgame interview.
"I might go to Muir Beach and jump in the ocean," Thompson said. "I'm so happy."