Warriors

Ranking most iconic 'Game 6 Klay' performances in playoffs

Warriors
Klay Thompson

Five years ago Friday, a legend was born. 

Klay Thompson's iconic performance in Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder sparked a nickname that would live on for years to come. 

The younger "Splash Brother" made playoff history on May 28, 2016, draining a record 11 three-pointers in the Warriors' series-tying 108-101 win over the Thunder. 

Thompson has continued to shine Game 6s throughout his career -- including during Finals runs in 2018 and '19 -- thus sparking the nickname "Game 6 Klay." At least three of Thompson's Game 6 performances hold a special place in the hearts of Dubs fans.

Here is Thompson's top three.

3. 2019 second round

This is the "Game 6 Klay" that is the freshest in the minds of Warriors fans. I won't ruin the mood by discussing what happens at the end of this playoff run to Klay in another Game 6, so let's focus on the positive. 

The Kevin Durant-less Warriors barely beat the Houston Rockets in Game 6. Thompson scored 27 points on 10-of-20 shooting and 7-of-13 from beyond the arc, to pair with Steph Curry's 33 points. 

A big layup from Thompson with 4.1 seconds left sealed the Rockets' fate that night. 

This Game 6 is a favorite of mine given the circumstances, and the fight the Warriors showed without their perennial superstar in Durant. It was neck-and-neck the entire game, and the pressure mounted as the Warriors successfully avoided a Game 7. 

 

2. 2018 Western Conference finals

This was the first of back-to-back seasons where Thompson and the Warriors eliminated the Rockets in the playoffs. This game, however, was not close after the Warriors' second-half surge propelled them to a 115-86 victory to force Game 7. 

Thompson was the star that night, scoring 35 points on 13-of-23 shooting and 9-of-14 from beyond the arc. 

"I guess you could say I was born for it. Man, that felt good," Thompson said at the time. 

Durant played in this matchup but had an off night shooting the ball. Curry was his usual self, scoring 29 points of his own, but Thompson was certainly the hero of yet another Game 6. 

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This game was almost the opposite of the Warriors' series against the Rockets the following year. With their backs against the wall, Klay and the Warriors avoided elimination and forced Game 7, one they would win to clinch yet another spot in the NBA Finals. 

1. 2016 Western Conference finals

What else could it have been?

Scoring 41 points on 14-of-31 shooting and 11-of-18 from beyond the arc, Thompson broke the record on his 10th 3 of the game. He added one more for good measure. 

This was peak "Splash Brothers" before the arrival of Durant, who coincidentally was on the opposing team. Thompson and Curry combined to make 17 3-pointers at a 53 percent clip, sending Durant and the Thunder home the next game.

"I should have had at least 13 because I missed some wide-open looks early," Thompson said after the game. 

The Warriors, down three-games-to-one at one point in the series, won the final three games -- including an electric Game 7 -- before facing LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals. 

Thompson shined in his most recent Game 6, but it ended in infamy. He tore his ACL in the 2019 Finals loss to the Toronto Raptors, and he will make his long-awaited return to the court at some point next season.

Will Klay have another Game 6 to remember?

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