• Full Coverage: 2022 NBA Finals
BOSTON — Real or imagined, the legend of “Game 6 Clay” looms as a potential storyline now that we’ve reached a critical moment in the 2022 NBA Finals when Boston is scheduled to host Golden State on Thursday (9 DV, ABC) closing this series 3-2.
In 12 games in Game 6 of his career, Klay Thompson averaged 20.7 points per game on 49.5% of three-point range. according to StatMuse.
The shooting guard built a reputation with 41 points, including 11 three-pointers in Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder, only to bolster it in the subsequent penultimate 27-point series in the 2019 West. in the Finals and 30 in the NBA Finals that same year. Thompson further cemented that position in the last two rounds of the 2022 postseason against the Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks, scoring 30 or more points in each of the last two games in Game 6.
“Obviously it’s become a narrative,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said in an interview last month. podcast. “Clay really believes in it now. In his head, he thinks, “Sure, this is game 6. Of course, I’m going to do it.” He fits the game so well. It shows you how powerful the mind is.”
Despair also plays an important role as a motivational force. This is likely how the Celtics feel on the verge of elimination after postponing it in seven games in each of the last two series against the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat to reach that point. Boston holds a 6-2 record since the 2017 postseason in streaks that reach Game 6. On the other hand, the Celtics are 2-6 in Game 6 in the same period.
“My faith is higher than ever before,” Boston quarterback Jaylen Brown said. “So, I’m looking forward to Game 6.”
As it should be, as this contest provides another opportunity to build on the history of the 2022 NBA Finals.
We admired Al Horford’s show Game 1followed by a virtuoso performance in Game 4 by Stephen Curry. These competitions are built with the latest technology. Game 5 a story of redemption from Andrew Wiggins (considered by many as a disappointment as he was the top pick overall in 2014) on the night Curry failed to call up his usual flamboyance from three-point range.
Wiggins’ strong performance saw him take 2nd in the 2022 NBA Finals MVP and while Curry remains the favorite to win the Bill Russell award (he no longer finishes 0-of-9 of a 3-point range in Game 6), we Can’t help but wonder what’s next in this tough series full of weighty storylines.
And now the top five on our 2022 NBA Finals MVP leaderboard after Game 3:
1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
NBA Finals stats: 30.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists
One aspect of Curry that we don’t discuss enough is how his veteran leadership and stellar play often inspire others to take action during difficult times. That’s exactly what we saw in Game 5, breaking away from Curry’s otherworldly performance in Game 4. Curry struggled to hit three-pointers the entire game (showing 0-of-9 on them), but contributed to other methods with gears (eight) and discs, as the rest of the Warriors made up the gap behind the arc, most notably Klay Thompson (5 of 11 from 3-point range). Without setting a strong role model for teammates, Curry walks off the court triumphant on Monday, smiling in satisfaction at the accomplishment overall team win. Curry also finished 10th in assists (196) in the NBA Finals.
2. Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors
NBA Finals stats: 18.4 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists
We made sure to recognize the 27-year-old’s career-high rebounding night (16 boards) as one of the catalysts for Golden State’s Game 4 triumph. The effort propelled Wiggins to fifth place in the Race to the Finals MVP rankings, but he did not last long before jumping three more spots after game 5. Wiggins provided the scoring hit Curry needed with 26 points. points, in addition to 13 rebounds and two assists, not to mention all-series blocking defense against Boston star Jason Tatum. We saw the lullaby of Curry’s three-pointers. Well Wiggins said night-night with a late-game dunk that ended a night full of durable finish.
3. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
NBA Finals stats: 18.0 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists
The legend of the Game 6 Klay never gets old, but the Game 5 Klay is sure to please fans of the Warriors. That’s who showed up and accounted for most of the team’s three-point shots, and Curry struggled to find his way. Thompson scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half to pass LeBron James for second behind Curry in an all-time 3-pointer list (102) in NBA Finals history. Game 5 was the 32-year-old’s eighth 20-point game in the 2022 playoffs as Thompson knocked out corner three-pointer (as well as long-range buckets) since he crushed to get through pure flour. The shooting guard also threw two of Golden State’s nine interceptions in Game 5.
4. Jason Tatum, Boston Celtics
NBA Finals stats: 23.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.0 assists
No one calls it an outstanding performance, but Tatum’s fifth game is arguably the best we’ve seen from a superstar in the series. The striker scored a game-high 27 points, including 13 in the first half. back-to-back three-pointersand then with another during the Celtics’ furious game in the third quarter, in which they hit an NBA Finals-record eight 3-pointers in a row. However, staff turnover remains a major problem for him, and his 95 appearances in these finals is the most since 1977-78 (when this statistic was first tracked). With Wiggins taking on much of the responsibility of protecting Tatum, the 24-year-old scores 5 of 21 in the fourth quarter of the final.
5. Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics
NBA Finals stats: 21.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists
Three became Brown’s working number in Game 5 as the wing compiled its third postseason outing with five or more losses in addition to shooting under 30% for the third time this playoff. A 2-of-11 start didn’t help matters. Boston had 18 losses in Game 5, giving Golden State 22 points while the Celtics fell to 1-7 this postseason with 16 or more losses. (When they’re down 15 or less, it’s 13-2.) Brown, Tatum and Marcus Smart totaled Boston’s 13 assists as the Celtics waived back-to-back meetings for the first time since late March.
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Michael S. Wright is a senior writer for NBA.com. You can send him an email herefind his archive here and follow him on Twitter.
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