OAKLAND – Nearly four hours after receiving his second consecutive MVP award, Warriors star Stephen Curry nominated one of his teammates for another award:
Klay Thompson for Western Conference Semifinals MVP.
Never mind that the award does not exist, at least in an official capacity.
Curry, unprompted, sat at the podium after Game 5 late Wednesday night and concluded his news conference by praising Thompson in what sounded a lot like a promotional campaign.
“I will have to say one thing though,” Curry began. “You've got to talk about . . . Klay was in here earlier. That dude had the best series I think I've ever seen him play on both ends of the floor, defending Dame (Lillard), exhausting all his energy to make it uncomfortable for him and what he's able to do offensively, hopefully that doesn't get lost in our series and the way that we play as a team.”
Playing the first three games without his sidekick, Curry, Thompson was superb throughout the series. He averaged 31.0 points per game on 49.6-percent shooting, including an even 50 percent from beyond the arc.
Moreover, Thompson had the single most difficult defensive assignment, as he was primarily responsible for containing Lillard, who averaged 31.8 points per game but shot only 36.2 percent from the field, including 43.1 percent from deep.
“I'm just proud of my focus,” Thompson said. “I'm only able to do that if I'm focused, and I thought in these playoffs I've been focused. We only get one shot at this and just want to give it my all every game. When I play with great focus, I think the sky's the limit.”
Thompson saved his best for last, scoring 33 points on 13-of-17 shooting, including 6-of-9 beyond the arc, as the Warriors clinched Game 5. Lillard scored 28 points on 7-of-24 shooting, including 2-of-8 from deep.
Curry made a point of noting Thompson’s work on Lillard as one of the keys to the Warriors winning Game 5 and the series.
“Because you look down at that 33 points and (Thompson) chased Damian around for all 34 minutes he was on the court,” Curry said. “So shout out to him for him elevating his game on both ends of the floor. Had to say that. Thank you.”
And with that, Curry stood up and stepped down from the podium.