Despite watching their 3-1 series lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers turn into a 3-3 tie thanks in part to the one-game suspension of Draymond Green, the Golden State Warriors still had an opportunity to close out the NBA Finals on their home floor in Game 7.
Explode they did not.
Instead, Curry and Thompson each put up their second-lowest scoring totals of the playoffs (excluding the game in which Curry was injured) in the biggest game of the year, combining to shoot 12-of-36 from the field and 6-of-24 from three-point land for 31 points, four assists, and seven turnovers.
Sure, they took shots from the same spots on the floor they'd been shooting from all season. But, as you'll see in the video below, so many of them were rushed, shooting off-balance and/or off one foot. And while at least one of Curry and Thompson can be relied upon to go off on a given night, the Warriors' Achilles heel has always been Plan B—or a lack of one.
Without the three-ball, neither member of the Dubs' superstar backcourt could find another way to put the ball in the hole. Curry improved greatly around the rim this year, but it felt like every layup he attempted on Sunday was impressed by the presence of James and the threat of an out-of-nowhere block. He also had trouble taking care of the ball all series, turning it over more than he assisted on buckets. Thompson has been given too much credit as a low-post bully when defended by smaller guards, almost always opting for a fadeaway that minimizes the use of the 6'7" shooting guard's size advantage.
The Warriors got little going at the free-throw line, making 13 trips. But that's been a weakness of Golden State's for a while now—they ranked 23rd with 1,790 free-throw attempts during the regular season, up from 26th and 1,709 the year before.
Obviously both Curry and Thompson are great players—cornerstones on which to build a franchise. But LeBron James' Cavs showed the league that their Warriors are beatable if your team wins every other battle and the Splash Brothers' shots aren't falling.
Despite his poor performance, Curry was quick to acknowledge the way James played.
"[LeBron] had a lot of people around him congratulating him. But there's no denying what he was able to accomplish this series," Curry said. "He played pretty great basketball, made some timely shots. Definitely was a huge reason they got it done.
"So hat's off to him. Winning a championship is no easy task, and he was able to accomplish it with his guys. So you congratulate him. If I do see him, that's basically what I'd say. Enjoy. Obviously he's done it before, but enjoy the moment. They definitely deserve it. They played their butts off and got it done."
Klay's comments, however, were a little saltier.
"It was very disappointing just because we know how good we are," Thompson said. "We feel like we're still the best team in the world, and we let that slide. So it hurts right now. I can't tell you when the disappointment's gonna fade, but it will."