(January 23, 2020)
You know you had a historic night when any serious NBA fan can identify it with a mere name and number.
On January 23, 2015, Klay Thompson poured in an NBA-record 37 points in one quarter. This record might be broken someday, but I very much doubt it will be broken on perfect shooting, with Klay making 13 shots, 9 threes and 2 free throws without a miss.
We are celebrating the fifth anniversary by sharing this ambitious video, a labor of love. We integrate a video analysis of that night’s plays with commentary from the participants (Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Steve Kerr and Klay Thompson) from their interviews after the game. We hope the quotes will give context and flavor to the video and the video will illuminate the gameplay discussed in the quotes.
The first third of Klay’s points had JB and Fitz noticing Klay was heating up, the middle third had them talking with excitement and disbelief, the final third was basically uncontrollable giggling. It built up slowly like a dream that kept getting better and better. It lets the whole performance build more.
Here are my notes from the game thread that night at Golden State of Mind:
Klay didn’t even take a shot until two minutes in, and the game was actually tied. The Ws were playing badly. Then…
The W’s D was outstanding during Klay’s hot streak. Even though Klay was beyond hot, a LOT of the points were in transition.
Mosdl found this video of Klay’s shots along with entertaining writeup: . The video is required viewing for all Warriors fans. Hourly.
If you can, find the whole live broadcast of Klay’s quarter. [Linked above]
The first 15 points were good shots, the next 15 were like a long heat check where you start taking more and more ridiculous shots and they keep going in, and the rest of the points were actual plays the Ws ran to get an exhausted Klay more shots for the record… Here’s a quick breakdown:
Grungy drive to midrange shot.
Transition 3 from top of the key.
Transition 3 feed from Curry.
Transition Curry alley-oop to Klay dunk with one handed finish. Beautiful.
Off the dribble, defender inexplicably playing off Klay.
THE HEAT CHECK COMMENCES.
Klay-Bogut pick and roll busted, Dray resets to Klay about six feet behind the line, level with the middle of the Oracle Arena logo. Klay calls for a pick and then says, SCREW THAT I’M KLAY and launches.
Klay comes off a double screen loop for an fading contested 3.
Klay gets an away screen from Lee which only sort of works, but that’s okay, Klay only sort of needs a screen. Contested 3. Miss, but the ball takes a big shooter’s bounce and God pushes it in.
Ws running into the play… A heat check drive… Klay drives on 4 Kings and finger rolls.
Curry finds Klay on fast break spotted up for a 3 a couple of feet behind the arc.
Bored with being KLAY SMASH, he does a perfect Kobe impression: keeps the ball, drives by 3 defenders (playing 1 on 5), drives to the Kobe spot at the elbow and throws in a twisting Kobe elbow jumper.
FATIGUE SETTING IN, but Ws still trying to set him up for the record.
Curry force feeds Klay in the corner in a terrible spot, sort of sets a screen for him. Klay’s defender thinks, is that really Curry screening me? I’m going to kick his ass. In the mean time, Klay decides to launch another 3 like a medieval catapult.
Elevator doors. Klay zips up the paint between Green and Lee, who shut the doors. Another 3. Record.
Klay adds a couple of FTs on what should have been a 4 point play.
Game is over now. Klay took it from a tie game to a blowout in just a few minutes.
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Ten minutes I'll never forget. I watched only the second half, but my God, it was full of stars. I watched alone in a foreign country, at work in the morning, and screamed so loudly for so long that my voice imploded for the rest of the day. This ain't saying much, frankly, since it goes out for no reason at all sometimes...but this was the best reason I've ever had for losing my voice. Jumped so much my feet hurt. My one or two coworkers who heard me thought I'd gone insane but luckily the building was 99% empty during lunch for some special reason that day.
We're so lucky to have seen this live. If I had a time machine this would be one of my favorite stops.
Nice to relive the memories of that game with your excellent video and comments. Cheers.
I am at work now but can't wait to watch the video. What a moment to relive!
I love Dray's comment at the end of the video. Like, you just caught a glimpse into basketball nirvana and the traditional presser is just wholly inadequate for addressing the moment. The irony is there were a bunch of insightful things mentioned that made it earlier into the video.
I also like how the video notes that the ridiculously good defense is the key to unlocking the moment. Those stretches of basketball nirvana where the team just becomes unstoppable have been the best part of this Warriors dynasty. Like, there are shootout quarters where neither side has any consideration for the defense (that one Q1 against the Mavs this year!) but nothing beats those moments when the opposing team just gets crushed by a suffocating, prescient defense and all those stops turn into momentum-building transition buckets.
I remember insisting on watching that game at some friends' after dinner. Their TV was tiny compared to mine and I had to sit up close and personal to hear Fitz & JB whilst everyone else was still chit chatting, post-gastronome. Out of the corner of their eyes they slowly started to notice the ridiculous history being made (my loud cheering could've contributed, who can say?). Folks began to stand around the diminutive television set. And they became True Believers after that. Later, I re-watched the game on my large TV. So, happy ending...and happy beginnings. Da Bay and the world, it seemed, caught hot, HOT Dubs fever after that...I guess word got around. ;-)