The One That Got Away | Kyrie Irving’s Three-Point Dagger In 2016 NBA Finals Clincher Still Plagues Klay Thompson’s Mind

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

There can’t be enough said about Klay Thompson’s place in NBA history. And with the Warriors coming off another NBA title and Thompson enjoying life as a healthy player again, Dub Nation is looking like the favorite to come out of the West again.

But even with all of the Warriors’ accomplishments and Thompson being one of the greatest shooters of all time, he still has a monkey on his back that he’s yet to shake. Despite all of his success and his triumphant return from two career-threatening injuries, it still haunts him to this day. 

Everyone remembers the 2016 NBA Finals. It was LeBron James and Kyrie Irving’s career-defining moment.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors went to seven games, and the Cavs completed an improbable comeback, becoming the first team in history to rebound from a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA Finals. 

It all started when LeBron James made one of the greatest blocks in basketball history to set up Kyrie’s iconic shot, that, in the eyes of many, is overshadowed by the block by James.

Bron’s masterful defensive play set up a Kyrie Irving sidestep three-pointer over Steph Curry that essentially served as a dagger to end the game and win the series and complete a historic comeback.

It was one of the most entertaining finals series of all time, and while it will go down as one of the greatest moments and memories for the Cavs players and fans alike, this is a devastating nightmare for Klay Thompson. 

One of the greatest shooters in the history of the sport ironically has one of his worst moments come from a three-pointer that he feels was his fault.

After the aforementioned block that LeBron James made on Andre Iguodala, the Warriors had to get back on defense to try and preserve their chance at a ring.

Thompson picked up Kyrie Irving, but then Irving wanted a switch so that he could be guarded by Curry, who isn’t as tenacious of a defender as Thompson. When Kyrie got that switch, he ate, hitting Curry with a sidestep into a three-point dagger. The shot ripped into the hearts of all of the Warriors fans in attendance. Thompson relived the moment during an episode of the “All the Smoke” podcast earlier this month:

Kyrie got one of the greatest shots in NBA history, and I’m like ‘Steph’s a great defender too.’ But I’m like ‘I can’t believe I conceded that switch.’ It still burns. You never get over things like that.”

This was the 73-9 Warriors team that broke the ’95-’96 Chicago Bulls record of 72-10 and winning the Finals at the end would’ve been a perfect cap to their historical season.

This whole moment is the equivalent of the 2007 Patriots going 16-0 and losing in the Super Bowl because of the David Tyree helmet catch. Two historic teams and seasons lost to historic game-changing moments. 

Klay knows that this moment stings, and it will forever live in the back of his mind, rent-free. 

While Klay has achieved a lot of accomplishments that many players could only dream of, this is his low moment in a career full of championship accolades.

The Warriors are coming off the fourth championship of Klay’s career and look positioned to contend for another. Klay, however, still remembers this moment as if it were yesterday. The one that got away.