Klay Thompson is the latest, and surely greatest, example of how the Golden State Warriors are being repaid all at once for the decades and seasons and coaches and players who knew nothing but misery and shame and degradation and Cohanmania.
I mean, sure you could try to metric your way to an explanation for Thompson’s megapreposterous 37-point third quarter Friday night. He shot such-and-such from the following angles over the following Sacramento Kings in the Warriors' 126-101 win and blah-blah-blah-de-blah-blah, but in doing so you are missing the bigger picture, which is this:
All of the franchise’s chits are being called in at once, an embarrassment of absurd riches that has raised the expectation bar from “Win The Title” to “Win By 25 Every Night” to “Do Things In Each Game Humans Have Never Seen Before.”
I mean, what’s the worst thing that’s happened to this team this year? Andrew Bogut’s injury? Steve Kerr’s first technical foul? The 26-turnover game in Phoenix? The time the bananas went bad in the cafeteria? Whatcha got?
Here’s what you got? Nothin’, with a side of Shut The Hell Up. Unless there’s this – the Warriors could give their coach an aneurysm for all the yelling he wants to do but can’t.
This was a night when Kerr wanted to turn moderately purple over his team’s slovenly first-half play. He was displeased in the extreme, and then Thompson went and ruined that by having the finest single quarter any player has ever had, and that includes the night of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game. He made all 13 shots he took, including nine 3-pointers, and made Kerr forget that he wanted to strangle several of his players.
Now all that pent-up anger turns unhealthy without release, so yes, Kerr is risking some sort embolism. But that’s been his whole season, so he must surely know by now what this season is meant to be.
And Thompson’s performance will far outstrip any teaching moments Kerr may try to impart Saturday. After all, how do you teach the children when they never make a mistake to learn from? How do you yell at them for spilling the milk when one has just won a dairy farm at the school fundraiser?
You don’t, and so it goes.
This has been an absurdly great week for the team, and it isn’t over yet. Kobe Bryant tore his rotator cuff, thereby eliminating any further debate over whether Thompson would make the West All-Star team. LaMarcus Aldridge injured his thumb thereby halving the Portland Trail Blazers’ list of influential players. And now Thompson goes and gets 52 the hard way.
I mean, what do the Warriors do next? How do you impress the audience Sunday against Boston after what they watched Friday against Sacramento? If they only win 118-92, do they get booed off the floor? If Stephen Curry doesn’t hit 14 of nine shots, do the customers demand a refund? If Draymond Green doesn’t dunk a ball with his feet, does the arena empty at halftime as parents try to comfort their weeping children on the way to the parking lot?
That’s the new Warrior paradigm – Something Ridiculous This Way Comes, So Just Wait A Bit. All the seasons when they made the wrong trade for the wrong reasons, or drafted the wrong guy, or ruined a potentially good team by arguing over who got the most credit, or just plain sucked to high heaven – it all gets made right this year.
And it may be too much.
Oh, you can try to find some solace in the six losses that prove their essential humanity and show them that this is supposed to be more of a struggle than it is, but you’re wasting your time. Nobody’s listening any more. They’ve come to see the extraordinary, and they get it as though it’s just another trip to the ATM.
In other words, the Warriors – THE FREAKING GOLDEN STATE NO TITLES IN 40 YEARS WARRIORS – have now reached the point where merely winning by double digits is a cliché, and therefore insufficient entertainment for a fan base that went from starving for thrills to Mr. Creosote in Monty Python’s Meaning Of Life.
So way to go, Klay Thompson. You got your 52, you had the best nine-minute stretch since the invention of minutes, you stole a coaching opportunity from Kerr, you raised the bar for your playmates to a new and unfair height, and you’ve jaded an entire fan base who will regard mere victory as winning 12 tickets after a day at Chuck E. Cheese.
Here’s hoping you’re proud of yourself. Spoilsport.