The overwhelming talent of the Golden State Warriors affords them ten lives in any given postseason series. In a 7-game series, they can give one game away, lose two crunchtime nail-biters, and somehow come out on the other side as we approach a Game 7 like the heavy favorites. It takes something special to knock off a defending champion. It takes another world of effort to take down the Golden State Warriors. There’s Stephen Curry’s blitz, Kevin Durant’s steadiness, Draymond Green’s ethereal defense, and if you make it through all that, there stands Klay Thompson.

For the first time in a long time, and perhaps the only time in his Warriors career, there seemed an emotional Klay Thompson. When the home team, favored by over 12 points, went down 39-22 after the first quarter, an engaged and different Klay Thompson showed up. A mature Klay. As KD looked to iso once again in a broken offensive set, Klay sprinted to him, set a screen, and railed an open 3 off the pop to the wing. It steadies the Warriors just enough in the second quarter. And in the third, there’s something special. It isn’t the 2016 performance, at least not in its entirety. The Warriors won 115-86, by 29 points after all. But the leadership, the composure, the poise and the championship exemplified in Klay’s performance represented another level. One that the Warriors were unable to reach in Game 4 and 5, struggling to break loose against a Rockets defense breaking their will.

And by the time the third quarter ended, the Warriors up 7 after a 13-0 run to start the half, Klay’s celebrations become ever more animated. The first-pumping, screaming Klay Thompson hasn’t made an appearance since that once-in-a-lifetime effort in 2016. That composure and confidence wasn’t always what Klay was. After the game, the two quotes encapsulated so much of what Klay has been and has become. “I don’t know if I was born for it but I definitely worked my butt off to get to this point….{long pause} I guess you could say I was born for it”. And a question later, “I was not always like this. I used to be so hard on myself earlier in my career. I remember losing one game to the NUggets and leaving the arena in my uniform. I’ve learned that if I play with passion and play as hard as I can, you can live with the result.” There’s your star shooting guard, and superstar in elimination Game 6s, with the utmost pressure riding on their shoulders.

You see Stephen Curry hesitate on shots he’d normally take, Kevin Durant lose control of his mindset, Draymond Green taken out of the game mentally, but you’ll never see Klay become another person. With the Warriors isolating more than ever this series, he’s been effectively taken out, his game unsuited for this type of postseason gameplan. But when it mattered most, and not just a Game 7 appearance, but the legacy of future HOFs like Steph and KD under its most scrutiny, Klay understood what was necessary.

Now the focus narrows to a single game, on the road, but against a team that’s effectively out-grinded the Warriors, into a squad on its last legs and without their star point guard. The Warriors are 5-point favorites, with perhaps Andre Iguodala back in the lineup. Warriors fans interested in betting the NBA online can trust this site for latest spreads and wagers. There’s still a margin of error for the Warriors, but slim given a Rockets shown to be hungrier than they are, and more composed in crunchtime than ever before. The Warriors got bailed out by their 4th best player, and that’s the story for these Warriors. They can lose but regenerate lives more often than any team perhaps in the history of the National Basketball Association. The Houston have thrown nearly everything at them, Chris Paul crunchtime wins, hot shooting in G6, an immaculate gameplan, and here we are, tied 3-3, into what is the most important game in Warriors history. Saved by Klay Thompson. Yet again.