With 10.9 seconds to go and the game tied, the Golden State Warriors went to Klay Thompson’s hot hand in hopes to salvage a tough playoff-type game on the road against the league’s best defense. Thompson, who had scored 14 in the final quarter prior to his go-ahead look, found himself in a favorable matchup over Pacers point guard George Hill in the corner.
“That was the look we wanted, get Paul George out of the picture. I thought we did a great job reading (the defense). Our guys got it in Klay’s hands with plenty of time,” Jackson said after the game.
Thompson posted up the smaller Hill, turned, faded, and like he had done many times all season, splashed his jumper with just 0.6 to spare in regulation.
“Big time shot,” Jackson described Thompson’s game-winner that silenced the hometown crowd.
“He did a great job. You try to stop a guy from getting to the basket and he takes a 17-foot fadeaway. There’s nothing you can do about it,” said Hill who helplessly watched the ball go through the net after Thompson shot over his outstretched arm.
The Pacers still had a chance to win the game after Paul George managed to shake free from his defender and get a good look from 27 feet away in the ensuing play after the timeout, but his shot hit back rim allowing the Warriors to escape with the win.
“Klay saved our butts tonight,” said Warriors point guard Stephen Curry after they squandered a 12-point lead with five minutes left in the game in a stretched wherein he turned the ball over twice.
“He was the difference in the game. His ability to create shots off pin-downs and in the post was the difference,” said Pacers head coach Frank Vogel regarding Thompson. Vogel’s decision to switch George on Curry which led to Hill covering Thompson during the Pacers’ final defensive possession also played a part with Jackson drawing up the perfect play in anticipation of the matchup.
The shot prevented another late-game collapse by the Warriors and helped them bounce back from a tough loss in Toronto last Sunday as they improve their record to 37-24, while spoiling David West’s heroics down the stretch for the Pacers. West led all scorers with 27 points and seven rebounds for the Pacers, while Thompson led the way for the Warriors with 25.