Warriors

Kerr recalls hilarious Thunder fan reaction to Game 6 Klay

Warriors
Warriors' Klay Thompson

Warriors coach Steve Kerr had a great view for the birth of "Game 6 Klay" five years ago Friday.

So did Oklahoma City Thunder fans sitting in what Kerr called "the Jack Nicholson seats" and, well, let's just say they weren't as thrilled with one of the most clutch performances in Klay Thompson's career as his coach was.

"It was so loud in [Chesapeake Energy Arena] that day," Kerr recalled Friday in an interview with KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks." "And I just remember, after Klay hit his fifth or sixth [3-pointer] of the second half as we were coming back ... I just remember looking at one of the fans and saying, 'Can you believe this is happening?'

"I don't think the fan was very happy."

That fan wasn't alone out of the 18,203 who attended Thompson's record-setting performance. Thompson made an NBA playoff-record 11 3-pointers, scoring 41 points to help the Warriors even the 2016 Western Conference finals at three games apiece with a 108-101 win.

Golden State trailed three-games-to-one, and Thompson's massive night ensured the series would in the building formerly known as Oracle Arena, where the Warriors dispatched Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder in Game 7 to advance to the NBA Finals.

Perhaps the fan's displeasure stemmed not only from a sense of impending doom that night, but also in the Thunder's not-so-distant future.

Durant returned to Oklahoma City next season as a visitor, after infamously signing with Golden State as a free agent. Does he follow that path if the Warriors don't eliminate the Thunder, which wouldn't have happened without Thompson's offensive explosion in Game 6?

 

If you ask Durant, the answer's yes.

The two-time NBA Finals MVP felt he needed to leave Oklahoma City to grow his game, and he told the "All the Smoke" podcast last year he felt that way before 2015-16.

"I was tired of playing in that system," Durant told Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson last February. "I was tired of, like, having to be the only guy that could make 3s, to make jump shots -- and consistently make 'em. My mind was already thinking about 'How can I develop my game?' more so than, like, the Warriors vs. Thunder, that rivalry. Like, even if that was a rivalry."

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Durant noted that the 2016 West finals was the only OKC-Golden State playoff series, but a different kind of rivalry would've developed had his Thunder stood in the way of the 73-9 Warriors' bid to repeat as NBA champions. Even if Durant leaves for the Bay Area after winning the Western Conference and, conceivably, dispatching LeBron James en route to his first title, the Warriors and Thunder would've confronted each other the following season on far more equal footing had Oklahoma City been basking in the afterglow of a championship.

Instead, the bitterness between the two franchises stemmed entirely from Durant's departure. Instead, a would-be dynasty came up short once again. Instead, an eventual one added another iconic memory.

Even if Kerr couldn't see all of that coming, it's no wonder he relished the view of Thompson's emergence as a playoff hero.

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